Monday, May 9, 2016

California's Voter Registration Problem Blows Up

What you see above is important because far too many Californians decided to bail on paying attention:

Nearly half a million California voters may be unable to participate in the state’s presidential primaries on June 7 as a result of confusion in the voter registration process, a Los Angeles Times investigation has discovered.

Hundreds of thousands of Californians who intended to register as independents may have accidentally registered instead with the ultra-conservative American Independent Party (AIP), which opposes abortion rights and same-sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire U.S. border.

The LA Times reports that “a majority of (AIP) members have registered with the party in error,” and that “nearly 3-in-4 people did not realize they had joined the party” after surveying registered members.

The Times had a team of Republican and Democratic pollsters contact a list of 500 AIP members, obtained through a public records request, who determined that “fewer than 4% could correctly identify their own registration as a member of the American Independent Party.”

Yes, that's right. Half a million people have likely chosen the American Independent Party because they wanted to be "independent" on their voter registration form. It's the first choice on the drop down menu--no wonder so many people screwed up, right? It's not like they should have read the disclaimer below, and it's not like they made it difficult. Good God.

And while a mess like this can happen entirely because of an unclear voter registration form, it isn't entirely the State of California's fault. We live in the age of the low information voter, and any time you open up a process that is unclear or, ahem, sorted alphabetically, you're going to have people who don't pay attention and don't want to be affiliated with a particular political party. There has been a gaming of the system here and that's pretty obvious.

And that's fine. But this is not disenfranchisement. Do you want to vote in the Democratic Party primary? Then register as a Democrat. Really, this isn't that hard to figure out.

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