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This article is about the political science term. For an article about the United States tax and election law designation, see Nonpartisan (American organizations)

In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event or organization in which the participants do not declare or do not formally have a political party affiliation.

Not partisan; free from party affiliation, bias, or designation.[1]

Some nonpartisan organizations are truly such; others are nominally nonpartisan but in fact are generally identifiable with a political party.


United States of America

In U.S. history, the Nonpartisan League was an influential socialist political movement, especially in the Upper Midwest, particularly during the 1910s and 1920s. It also contributed much to the ideology of the former Progressive Party of Canada. It went into decline and merged with the Democratic Party of North Dakota to form the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party in 1956.

Today, nonpartisan elections are generally held for municipal and county offices, especially school board, and are also common in the election of judges. In some nonpartisan elections, it is common knowledge which candidates are members of and backed by which parties; in others, parties are almost wholly uninvolved and voters make choices with little or no regard to partisan considerations.

Churches are by law supposed to remain nonpartisan in order to retain the status of contributions to them being tax-deductible (contributions to overtly partisan groups, even tax-exempt ones, are not); this has recently been called into question with regard to both many predominantly African-American churches being involved in Democratic activism and with many predominantly white evangelical churches being openly aligned with activist groups largely associated with Republicans such as the Christian Coalition. On the other hand, the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C. think tank, has at various times in its history been headed by both identifiable Republicans as well as identifiable Democrats and hence would be judged by many to be nonpartisan in practice as well as in theory.

The unicameral Nebraska State Legislature is the only state legislature that is entirely nonpartisan.

Republic of India

In the Republic of India, the Jaago Re! One Billion Votes campaign is a non-partisan campaign initiated by Tata Tea, and Janaagraha to encourage citizens to vote in the Indian general election, 2009.

See also





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