Independent Voters Will Want To Double Check Their Status After This Mess

voter registration

Have you heard of the American Independent Party? Me neither. But they’re the third largest political party in California, and that’s because most of its members thought that they were registering as independent (as in, independent of any political party) when they checked off the AIP box on their form. This could have consequences for the 2016 presidential election.

According to an LA Times investigation, nearly three in four people registered in this party didn’t realize their mistake. This includes celebrities like Kaley Cuoco and Emma Stone. This means that these people won’t be able to vote in the June 7 Democratic primary, since its only open to registered Democrats and those who vote “no party preference.” That phrase is California’s official designation for an independent voter. It probably doesn’t help that in the party preference section on California’s voter registration form, the American Independent Party is listed first, and the no party preference choice is last.

The American Independent Party was started in 1967 by George Wallace for his second run for president. As you may know, Wallace is a famous segregationist. Now the party only exists in California; its growth spurred on by confusion from voters who want to register as independent.

As a result, people think the AIP should change their name:

“I think the name should be something different,” said Gail Pellerin, Santa Cruz County’s registrar of voters. “Right now, it’s misleading.”

“I had a voter totally break down and cry in my lobby,” Pellerin added, recalling a young woman who wanted to vote in the 2008 Democratic primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, but couldn’t because she’d registered with the American Independent Party.

The AIP is reluctant to do that, lest it lose its official recognition in the state by not having enough voters registered with them.

(via LA Times)