For the first time in California history, NPP or “independent” voters could have the ability to automatically select their candidate for President, regardless of party, without having to contact the Secretary of State’s office.
A new bill, AB 2207, introduced by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula and supported by the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers -- representing more than 30 voter rights organizations, would provide a remedy to a lawsuit brought by the Independent Voter Project in 2019. The lawsuit offered a simple solution to Secretary of State Alex Padilla and several state legislators. If approved by the state legislature, the bill would finally “open” the semi-closed CA primary for NPP voters in future elections, as required by the California constitution.
When IVP first raised this issue in 2015, it had support, from California registrars, numerous state and multiple national reform organizations.
However due to the legislature's inaction, IVP sued the Secretary of State earlier this year. The lawsuit will be litigated early this summer.
IVP has collected more than 15,000 signatures from registered California voters who have signed this petition supporting a “public ballot” option that would allow the state’s 6 million NPP voters.
IVP Chairman Dan Howle characterized the issue as being fairly simple, “The law and common sense are both clear. Let the political parties keep their own ballots. Let the parties exclude or include whoever they want. Let the parties decide their own rules of nomination. But give every voter their fundamental right to participate at every stage of the taxpayer-funded public election process.”
As seen below, the bill doesn’t alter Democrat or Republican ballots. It only gives access to the 6 million disenfranchised NPP voters.
This bill would, most simply, change the default ballot for nonpartisan voters from not listing any candidates, to instead listing every candidate. Partisan voters would continue to receive ballots for their own party’s primary. The parties would then have the option, but not the obligation, to consider the votes from nonpartisan voters at their private nominating conventions.
IVP Executive Chairman Dan Howle noted, “This ballot fix greatly enhances the voting experience for NPP voters in California. No longer will independents need to request access to vote for the Presidential candidate they prefer.”