'Decline-to-State' Voters Prep for Primary

New open primary does not apply to the presidential primary

By Lauren Steussy
|  Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012  |  Updated 11:09 AM PDT
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Armstrong Takes on California Tobacco


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Prop 29: Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research

Prop. 29, known as the "Tobacco Tax for Cancer Research Act," would levy another nickel on every cigarette sold in California. Debra Kelley with the American Lung Association and Richard Rider, Chairman of the San Diego Tax Fighters discuss with NBC 7's Gene Cubbison on "Politically Speaking."

Open Primary Enables Independent Voters

Voters who aren't Democrats or Republicans comprise about 1 out of every 4 registrants, and that number is growing. Steve Peace, a former state assemblyman, senator, and finance director joins NBC 7's Gene Cubbison on "Politically Speaking."
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As non-partisan voters in California consider who they'd like to vote for in June's presidential primary, the San Diego County Registrar of Voters sent out a few tips for California's new voting set-up.

About 25 percent of voters in the county are registered non-partisan, said Deborah Seiler with the registrar.

The rules for non-partisan -- or 'decline-to-state voters' -- are the same now as they were four years ago, despite the introduction of California's open primary system.

The Democratic Party allows all voters to cast ballots in its presidential primary. However for Republicans, the primary is closed.

"If a party has a closed primary election," Seiler said, "it means that only those voters who are registered to vote with that particular political party are allowed to vote in the presidential primary."

These rules only apply to the presidential primary though. Regardless of party, voters can select their first choices to fill congressional, state, and legislative offices.

California’s new Open Primary system, approved in 2010, may help third-party candidates, according to Steve Peace, a former state assemblyman, senator, and finance director.

The last day to register for the June primary is May 21. Sample ballots should be sent out in about a month, and mail-in ballots will be sent out May 7.

The California primary is June 5. This is also when voters will decide on Props 28 and 29. Proposition 28 reduces legislators’ term from 14 years to 12 years. Proposition 29 would tax tobacco sales to support cancer research.

For more election coverage, visit our Decision 2012 page for candidate bios, issue coverage and related stories.

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