May 13, 2016

Voting: Could California Make It Any More Difficult For "No Party Preference" Voters To Vote?

I've voted in all but a few elections during the 32 years I've been registered to vote.  But this election year I'm wondering:

Could California make it any more difficult for "No Party Preference" voters to vote?

According to the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California, about 23.6% of California registered voters are registered as "No Party Preference", or "NPP", aligning with no political party.  The designation is also worded as "Decline to State" in some states.  This year I changed my prior voter registration to become one of the 23.6% of voters registered as NPP.  That's approximately 4,141,860 registered voters.

But boy oh boy.  Looking at next month's Primary Election voting on June 7, I'm wondering if California could make it any more difficult for NPP voters to vote.

In California, an NPP registered voter may only cast a Presidential Primary vote for a Democrat, Libertarian, or American Independent presidential candidate.  I get that; the decision to allow NPP votes is up to each political party.

But what I don't get, and simply find head shaking, are the hoops an NPP voter must jump through if she wants to cast a vote in the Presidential Primary race for a Democrat, Libertarian, or American Independent candidate.  Here is the supposed "streamlined" voting process for NPP voters, as outlined in an article in today's local weekly newspaper the Pleasant Hill/Martinez Record:

"NPPs who prefer a Democrat candidate may go to the polls as usual, but must request a special NXD Democrat ballot that allows them to vote for a presidential candidate, but not party central committee candidates. With two Democrat ballots, poll workers will have to be careful to make sure voters get the correct version". 

Huh?  First , this means California NPP voters who have requested to vote by mail cannot do so if we want to vote for one of the allowed presidential candidates.  We have to go to a polling place and requests a "special" ballot.

Second, does anyone really think that NPP voters who request a Democrat ballot are always going to get the "special" NXD Democrat ballot rather than the "regular", or perhaps I should say "un-special", Democrat ballot?

(I'd also like to know what in the heck the acronym NXD means.  I'll check into that at a later date.)

Only a bureaucratic politician would think that the above NPP voting process is a "streamlined" election process.  FUBAR is a much more accurate description.

And looking back at the June 2014 Pleasant Hill polling place that didn't even exist ... 

I thought my local Contra Costa County Election Office was unbelievably screwed up in the June 2014 Primary Election when they published the address for my precinct's polling station as 3100 Oak Park Blvd., an address that does not even exist!  My polling station was actually at 1 Santa Barbara Road, an address more than a mile away.  (Here is the local newspaper's article about that incident.  I'm quoted in it, as I provided the tip to the newspaper.)  But the runaround and jump-through-hoops requirements the State of California has placed on NPP voters this Primary Election earns my "just as extraordinarily bad" vote.

Well, at least we all have some entertaining debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to look forward to.  Fix a drink, pop some popcorn, and pull up a chair for those events, which surely will provide plenty of material for late night comedians.

Mary Rae Fouts

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