The June primary in California may matter this year after decades of taking place too late in the game to matter. As some 1.7 million registered San Diego voters gear up to cast their ballots, there is some confusion in the name of one party that may prevent some residents from casting votes.
With nearly half a million registered voters, the American Independent Party is bigger than all minor political parties combined.
It’s on the far right of the political spectrum with its members consider themselves pro-life and supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act. They also support building a fence along the entire southern United States.
A poll from the LA Times found 3 out of 4 people were simply confused by the name of the party, thinking they were checking the registration box that made them an “independent” voter.
The Times found Hollywood celebrities like Demi Moore and Emma Stone didn’t realize they weren’t declaring themselves independent of the major political parties Democrats or Republicans when they checked that box.
California has a top two primary system allowing voters to cast ballots for any candidate, regardless of party. But in presidential races, parties set the rules and the Republicans have a closed primary in California this year.
Democrats will allow voters registered as “No Party Preference”, the legal term for Independent.
In Ocean Beach, one resident said he hoped to vote in the Democratic primary until he discovered the registration mistake.
“It actually was not knowing I’m registering for a party and I thought I was registering as an independent,” said Bryan Davidson. “It was pretty shocking.“
He said they should make the registration form clearer.
"There should be no doubt what you are registering for when you put your check mark on the box," Davidson said. "You should know a hundred percent that you are going to be registered as an independent or for the American Independent Party because you certainly don't want to be affiliated with a party you know nothing about or don't stand for their views."
San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said there are approximately 50,000 voters registered with the AIP.
“It would probably behoove those individuals that would consider themselves as independent voters to double check that by going to our website at sdvote.com,” Vu said.