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California’s Registered Independents Call For Changes To Presidential Primary Process, Suggest Public Ballot




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If you’re a registered independent in California and vote by mail, did you know you have to send in a postcard to the country registrar recorder to let them know which party’s ballot you want?

If not, don’t stress. You’re in the same boat as almost a million other California voters who are registered independents, and there’s still time before the 2020 presidential primary. But forget to do it and you could end up with a ballot that doesn’t have any choices at all for presidential candidates.

Voters who have registered as “no party preference” (NPP) comprise the second-biggest contingent of voters in the state behind Democrats, and they’re growing more quickly than any other political affiliation as well. But many voters aren’t intimately familiar with the voting process that comes with being a registered independent, and while some say more outreach on the part of the state is required to reach those voters, others say that even better education will still leave many NPP voters in the dark. One of those groups, the Independent Voter Project, has proposed creating a “public ballot” for political independents, which would include all of the candidates running for president in all parties. The IVP says this would be a better way to ensure that more people participate, but some note that it would jive with the national parties’ control of their primary process.

What are the challenges of letting the political parties decide who participates in their primaries, when independent voters are the fastest growing group in the state? What do you think of the idea of a public ballot for NPP voters? 

You can check your voter registration status, including your party preference and where you’re registered to vote, at the California Secretary of State’s website.

With guest host Libby Denkmann

Guests:

Chad Peace, legal advisor for the Independent Voter Project, a nonprofit organization seeking to re-engage nonpartisan voters and promote nonpartisan election reform who are behind the petition to create a “public ballot” registered political independents; he is also a partner at the San Diego law firm Peace & Shea, LLP where he specializes in election law and voter rights; he tweets @ChadPeace

Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party and recent past president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor; he tweets @RustyHicks

Shawn Steel, Republican National Committeeman for California and former chair of the California Republican Party, where he still serves on the board; he is also founder of Shawn Steele Law Firm in Los Angeles; he tweets @shawnsteel1