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Update

IVP to CA Secretary of State: Will You Be Fair to Independents in 2020?

The Independent Voter Project (IVP) sent a letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla Friday, requesting clarification on one, simple thing: Will the 2020 presidential primary treat independent voters and candidates fairly?

IVP has been contacted by potential independent candidates whose decision to enter the presidential race hinges on their ability to access the presidential primary.

Further, there is the lingering question from many concerned citizens and activists, including a major party presidential candidate, as to why independent voters (registered No Party Preference or NPP) must affirmatively request a Democratic ballot to participate in the presidential primary,

Why does the state make it so difficult for NPP voters to cast a ballot for the presidential candidate of their choice? Why not have an open presidential primary as the California Constitution requires?

To clarify what the 2020 presidential primary will mean for independent candidates and voters, IVP is asking Secretary Padilla to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the requirements for an independent presidential candidate to participate in California’s presidential primary?
  2. Will the Secretary of State conduct an “open presidential primary” for independent candidates running for President of the United States?
  3. Will the winner of the independent “open presidential primary” for President of the United States appear on the ballot in November?
  4. If the Secretary of State does not intend to conduct an “open presidential primary” for independent candidates running for President, how will those independent candidates qualify to appear on the ballot in November?
  5. How can an NPP voter participate in the presidential primary without affirmatively requesting a ballot from the Democratic Party or another party that chooses to allow NPP voters to participate in their nomination process?

IVP offered Secretary Padilla a simple solution back in 2015 to give every voter a simple, fair, and easy primary process for everyone.

The public ballot solution would allow NPP voters to cast a ballot for any presidential candidate running, regardless of party. This would include major party, minor party, and independent candidates.

The parties can then choose whether or not to use the public ballot results in their own nomination process.

It protects the rights of voters AND political parties. Unfortunately, Secretary Padilla rejected the proposal ahead of the 2016 presidential primary, saying he didn’t know if he -- as the state’s chief elections administrator -- had the authority to add the public ballot to the presidential primary.

So, what does Secretary Padilla plan to do in 2020 for independent candidates and voters? Read the full letter below.

The Media Is Taking Notice

IVP legal advisor Chad Peace also made an appearance on KUSI in San Diego to discuss the ongoing problems with the presidential primary, and what it means for those who choose to register and run outside the major parties.

“By the time you get to the general election, the narrative has been framed, the ‘credible’ candidates have already been decided,” says Peace, “and then you have three or four independents, plus third parties, all competing for the first time in a general election when all the dialogue and all the voters have been told, ‘Well, these are the credible candidates that actually have a chance to win.”

IVP knows that some people believe we are just “whistling in the wind” by proposing simple, fair, and easy nonpartisan solutions to the partisan powers that be. But there is no other organization that has had the amount of success passing nonpartisan primary reform than IVP, authoring and passing the nonpartisan, top-two primary for statewide, legislative, and congressional elections.

“Representation is supposed to be about representing the community, not a color -- not a t-shirt, and what I mean by t-shirt is red or blue. It is supposed to represent everybody,” Peace adds.

County Registrars Express Concern

County registrars have even weighed in, saying there will definitely be challenges in administering the 2020 primary and making sure NPP voters have a path to participation. Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Courtney Bailey says it will be a “big undertaking.”

“We are planning an extensive outreach and education effort in this area and will need the support of all political parties, presidential campaigns, interested organizations and the media to be in sync with us to reduce any confusion,” says San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu.

Giving Californians a presidential primary for everyone is the Independent Voter Project’s top reform priority going into 2020. IVP plans to make a major announcement in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Read the full letter to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla:

Dear Secretary Padilla,

The Independent Voter Project, author of the nonpartisan top-two primary, has been contacted by potential independent presidential candidates regarding access to the presidential primary ballot.

Additionally, a number of activist leaders and a major party presidential candidate have relayed their confusion as to why No Party Preference (NPP) voters must affirmatively request the ballot of the Democratic Party to participate in the presidential primary.

Your timely response to the following questions would be much appreciated:

  1. What are the requirements for an independent presidential candidate to participate in California’s presidential primary?
  2. Will the Secretary of State conduct an “open presidential primary” for independent candidates running for President of the United States?
  3. Will the winner of the independent “open presidential primary” for President of the United States appear on the ballot in November?
  4. If the Secretary of State does not intend to conduct an “open presidential primary” for independent candidates running for President, how will those independent candidates qualify to appear on the ballot in November?
  5. How can an NPP voter participate in the presidential primary without affirmatively requesting a ballot from the Democratic Party or another party that chooses to allow NPP voters to participate in their nomination process?

Sincerely,

Dan Howle

Executive Director & Chairman

Independent Voter Project

ADD YOUR NAME: Independents Deserve a Fair and Equal Vote in ALL Elections

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