List of political parties in the United States

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This is a current list of established political parties in the United States. The list is comprised only of political parties that are officially recognized by their respective states. As of July 2014, there are 34 distinct officially recognized political parties in the United States.

Political parties by state

As of July 2014, there are 34 distinct and officially recognized political parties in the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Counting the total number of instances of a recognized party, there are 220 total parties in the 50 states (and Washington D.C.). For example, the Democratic and Republican parties are recognized in all 50 states plus D.C., which accounts for 102 of the 220 total parties. This figure is based upon the number of officially recognized political parties and does not include situations where a candidate chooses a party designation or party label to appear next to his or her name on the ballot. For example, candidates have appeared in Washington under the designation "Happiness Party." This does not signify an actual political party; rather, it is the label chosen by a candidate to appear next to his or her name on the ballot.[1]

Three minor parties are recognized in more than 10 states:[2]

Additionally, 20 political parties are officially recognized in only one state. Florida officially recognizes 15 political parties, more than any other state.[2]

Total state affiliates for each political party
Political party States
Alaskan Independence Party 1
America's Party 1
American First Party 1
American Party of South Carolina 1
Americans Elect 6
Connecticut Independent Party 1
Conservative Party 1
Constitution Party 14
Delaware Independent Party 1
Democratic Party 51
Ecology Party 1
Green Party 20
Hawaii Independent Party 1
Independence Party 3
Independence Party of Minnesota 1
Independent American Party 4
Justice Party 2
Labor Party 1
Libertarian Party 35
Liberty Union Party 1
Moderate Party 1
Mountain Party 1
Natural Law Party 2
Oregon Independent Party 1
Oregon Progressive Party 1
Peace and Freedom Party 2
Reform Party 3
Republican Party 51
Socialism and Liberation Party 1
Socialist Party 2
Tea Party 1
United Citizens Party 1
Vermont Progressive Party 1
Working Families Party 5

The number of recognized political parties fluctuates regularly, as parties are certified and/or lose official party status. For example, Arkansas requires minor parties to win at least 3 percent of the vote in the most recent gubernatorial or presidential election in order to maintain their recognized status. Minor parties have failed to achieve these requirements in the past several elections, thereby needing to reapply for official certification in the year after the even year election.[2]

Many states distinguish between "major" parties and "minor" parties. The differences between the two can be found in how they put a candidate on the ballot. In all states major parties are granted access to primary elections, allowing them to determine which of their candidates will continue to the general election. Many states, however, do not allow minor parties to participate in primary elections, meaning their candidates can run only in the general election. Many states also allow major parties to select candidates by convention, requiring only a certificate of nomination to register the candidate. In contrast, minor parties are often required to submit petitions to register their candidates, proving to the state that they have a certain percentage of support from the total registered voters before their candidates are placed on the ballot.[2]

The process to be recognized as a political party varies by state. Some states require petitions to be submitted with a certain percentage of registered voter signatures. Others require a certain number of voters to register with the party on their voter registration cards before a group is considered a political party. Other states require a candidate to run as a member of a political group before it is recognized as a full party, requiring that candidate to earn a certain percentage of the votes cast in that election for the identified group to be considered a party.[2] For information on a specific state's process, check out that state's ballot access requirements page.

The table below details the officially recognized political parties in each state and links to the party websites.[2]

Historical research

May 2014

As of May 2014, there were 34 distinct officially recognized political parties in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

April 2014

As of April 2014, there were 34 distinct officially recognized political parties in the 50 states and Washington, D.C.

December 2013

As of December 2013, there were 27 distinct officially recognized political parties in the 50 states and Washington D.C.

Party status


State senate

See also: State senate elections, 2010 and Political parties with candidates in state senate elections in 2010

There were 2,765 state senate candidates who ran in the state senate elections in 2010.

State house

See also: State house elections and Political parties with candidates in state house elections in 2010

There were 11,099 total candidates who ran in the state house elections in 2010.

Voter preference for a third party

According to an October 2013 Gallup poll conducted during the first week of the federal government shutdown, 60 percent of Americans felt "the Democratic and Republican parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed."[3] Voter preference for a third major party has increased 20 percent in the past 10 years, from a low of 40 percent in 2003 (the first year Gallup conducted this poll).

Perceived Need for a Third Party[3]
Poll Do adequate job Third party neededNo opinion
October 3-6, 2013
September 6-9, 2012
September 8-11, 2011
April 20-23, 2011
August 27-30, 2010
September 8-11, 2008
September 14-16, 2007
July 6-8, 2007
September 7-10, 2006
October 10-12, 2003
AVERAGES 40.4% 52.1% 7.7%
Note: Exact question asked in the survey: "In your view, do the Republican and Democratic parties do an adequate job of representing the American people, or do they do such a poor job that a third major party is needed?"

Political parties in Washington state

The State of Washington allows candidates in their top-two primary contests to choose any party label they wish. According to the Washington Secretary of State, "Each candidate for partisan office may state a political party that he or she prefers. A candidate's preference does not imply that the candidate is nominated or endorsed by the party, or that the party approves of or associates with that candidate." The ballot label system in use in the state creates a situation where a candidate can list a party preference that is similar, but not actually equal, to a real political party, as well as allowing candidates to express party preferences that correlate to parties that do not exist.

According to the Seattle Weekly, "Many other states have erected hurdles to exclude minor parties, including signature requirements and other thresholds. Washington State, on the other hand, is pretty much wide-open about letting candidates and parties on the ballot. It's a new and unique system that seeks to provide voters with information. It's basically a nonpartisan voting system that allows candidates to send a message to voters in sixteen characters or less."[4]

Jordan Schrader of the Tacoma News Tribune wrote:

"So among candidates who filed today to run, we've already got a "Prefers Neither Party" (that would be Jon T. Haugen, running for the state House seat left vacant by Jaime Herrera's decision to run for Congress) and a "Prefers Lower Taxes Party" (a group with exactly one member, Tim Sutinen, challenging Rep. Brian Blake).
Lots of candidates will be listed as "Prefers Democratic Party," but at least two, Sen. Paul Shinn and Louise Chadez, prefer the "Democrat Party," which strictly speaking, doesn't exist any more than the Lower Taxes Party. You usually only hear "Democrat Party" from Republicans using it as a pejorative term."[5]

These parties listed as party label preferences in the state in 2010 do not appear to correlate to political parties that exist beyond ballot labels:

Orangeslashed.png : Bull Moose Party
Goldslashed.png : Happiness Party
Cyan.png  : Lower Taxes Party
Darkbrown2.png  : Senior Side Party

Party dots

Darkpurpleslashed.png : 2010 Peace Party
Limeslashed.png : Alaskan Independence Party
American Independent : American Independent (CA)
Conservative Party : Conservative Party
Constitution Party : Constitution Party
Democratic Party : Democratic Party
Green Party : Green Party
Independence Party of America : Independence Party of America *
Independent : Independent (No party affiliation)
Constitution_Party#Independent_American_Party_of_Nevada : Independent American (Nevada)
Darkgreenslashed.png : Justice for Vermonters Party
Libertarian Party : Libertarian Party
Pinkslashed.png : Liberty Union Party
Moderate Party : Moderate Party
Green Party#Mountain Party : Mountain Party
Peace and Freedom Party : Peace and Freedom Party
Progressive Party  : Progressive Democratic Party
Lime2.png : Progressive Party (Vermont)
Greenslashed.png : Vermont-Independence Party
Reform Party : Reform Party
Republican Party : Republican Party
Tea Party : Tea Party
Working Families Party : Working Families Party

External links