In political science, nonpartisan denotes an election, event, organization or person in which there is no formally declared association with 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

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.

Nonpartisan League

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.


In the history of Milwaukee, the "Nonpartisans" were an unofficial but widely recognized coalition of Republicans and Democrats who cooperated in an effort to keep Milwaukee's Sewer Socialists out of as many offices as possible, including in elections which were officially non-partisan, but in which Socialists and "Nonpartisans" were clearly identified in the press.[2] This lasted from the 1910s[3] well into the 1940s. During the period of Socialist-Progressive cooperation (1935-1941), the two sides were called "Progressives" and "Nonpartisans".[4]

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


  1. ^ "Webster: Nonpartisan". Retrieved 2009-08-13. 
  2. ^ "School Board Returns Even: Both Nonpartisans and Socialists Pick Five Candidates Each" Milwaukee Journal March 18, 1931; p. 1, col. 7
  3. ^ Avella, Steven M. "Milwaukee Catholicism: Essays on Church and Community" Milwaukee: Milwaukee Knights of Columbus, 1991; pp. 43-44
  4. ^ Cibulka, James G. and Olson, Frederick I. "The Organization of the Milwaukee Public School System" in Seeds of Crisis: Public Schooling in Milwaukee since 1920 Rury, John L. and Cassell, Frank A., eds. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1993; p. 104


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  • nonpartisan — onpartisan adj. 1. free from party affiliation or bias. Opposite of {partisan}. [Narrower terms: {bipartisan, bipartizan, two party, two way}; {independent ] [Narrower terms: {nonparty, non party ] Syn: nonpartizan. [WordNet 1.5] 2. not… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • nonpartisan — I adjective autonomous, broadminded, detached, disengaged, equitable, evenhanded, fair, fair minded, impartial, independent, judicious, latitudinarian, moderate, neutral, nonaligned, objective, self determined, self directing, self governing,… …   Law dictionary

  • nonpartisan — [adj] impartial; not political detached, equitable, fair, free wheeling*, independent, indifferent, just, middle of theroad*, neutral, nonaligned, nondiscriminatory, objective, on one’s own*, on the fence*, playing it cool*, unaffected,… …   New thesaurus

  • nonpartisan — [nän΄pärt′ə zən] adj. 1. not partisan; esp., not controlled or influenced by, or supporting, any single political party 2. designating or having to do with an election in which candidates are not officially identified by party nonpartisanship n …   English World dictionary

  • nonpartisan — adjective Date: 1885 not partisan; especially free from party affiliation, bias, or designation < nonpartisan ballot > < a nonpartisan board > • nonpartisanship noun …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • nonpartisan — nonpartisanship, n. /non pahr teuh zeuhn/, adj. 1. not partisan; objective. 2. not supporting or controlled by a political party, special interest group, or the like. n. 3. a person who is nonpartisan. Also, nonpartizan. [1880 85; NON + PARTISAN] …   Universalium

  • nonpartisan — non•par•ti•san or non•par•ti•zan [[t]nɒnˈpɑr tə zən[/t]] adj. 1) gov not partisan; objective 2) gov not supporting, controlled by, or affiliated with any of the established political parties 3) gov a person who is nonpartisan • Etymology: 1880–85 …   From formal English to slang

  • nonpartisan — I noun a person who is nonpartisan • Syn: ↑nonpartizan • Ant: ↑partisan • Hypernyms: ↑person, ↑individual, ↑someone, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • nonpartisan — 1. adjective Not partisan; impartial and unbiased 2. noun a) One who is not a partisan. b) A person who has not selected or declared a side or party …   Wiktionary

  • nonpartisan — Synonyms and related words: Laodicean, anythingarian, apathetic, autarchic, autarkic, autonomous, centrist, equitable, even, fence sitter, fifty fifty, free lance, free spirit, free trader, free spirited, freethinker, freewheeling, half and half …   Moby Thesaurus

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