No Party Preference (NPP) and American Independent (AI) voters in California are likely going to be confused when their ballot arrives for the March 2020 presidential primary as they will have no option for president.
The same issue arose in the 2016 presidential primary for Bernie Sanders supporters, which set off a firestorm of controversy.
Now, 4 years later, the state is offering a band-aid "solution" that increases communication to NPP voters, but doesn't change their ability to vote for a candidate, unless they request a Democrat party ballot. The Republican party does not currently allow NPP "crossover" votes.
Sacramento County Registrar of Voters Courtney Bailey joined the IVN podcast to discuss the effort to educate NPP voters.
Bailey has 234,196 NPP and American Independent voters in her county which makes up roughly 30% of her electorate, so you can see the enormous education effort that will be needed.
"As an election official I'm concerned with making sure all the voters understand what their options are for a presidential primary election," Bailey said, "our work is to try to avoid as much confusion as possible and reach out to those voters who aren't registered with a political party, to make sure they know they have options."
"Our message for NPP voters is to ensure they know what their options are when the time comes to request a ballot so they can vote for the presidential nominees, if that party allows them too. And that's something that we're working on the messaging that this is something that the parties choose whether they want to allow those that aren't registered with their party to vote for their nominee."
What Bailey is referring to is California's current semi-closed primary election system, a violation of the states constitution.
The Independent Voter Project believes and has offered legislation to fix this issue, and open the primary so voters can select any presidential nominee they would like. Indeed, the group views this as a civil rights issue for the 5.6 million NPP voters across California, the states 2nd largest bloc of voters.
Listen to the full podcast here