This year, it seems, California’s presidential primaries may finally matter. But many voters could lose their opportunity to participate if they don’t act soon. That’s because the June 7 primaries are not open races, in which voters may simply show up and choose among all the possible candidates. Rather, these are party nominating contests, and it is the parties themselves that set the rules about who can participate. Only registered Republicans may cast ballots for Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich. The Democratic Party restricts its primary between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders to registered Democrats and to voters listed as “no party preference.”
Intentional or not, American Independents will be given an AIP ballot on June 7 with a list of candidates most have never heard of, and they’ll be barred from voting in the Democratic or Republican presidential primaries. And that at a time when California leaders have adopted laws designed to boost turnout and participation. Secretary of State Alex Padilla ought to revisit the voter registration form to eliminate that confusing element and any others that people encounter when they sign up to vote.
California has made it fairly easy. (registertovote.ca.gov) There is still time for voters to check their registration and, if they want to, change it to participate in their primary of choice. The deadline is May 23 — two weeks before election day.