An article in today’s LA Times reports that almost 32 thousand California voters switched their party registration during the final weeks of April.
The switch resulted from mass defections from the state’s American Independent Party (AIP).
The Times said that 31,772 AIP voters changed affiliation, though the reason for their switch and their new party affiliation is not completely known.
California is a closed primary state with five AIP Presidential candidates certified for the election. It is possible that former AIP voters misunderstood their registration, believing they had registered as independents, known as “no party preference.”
The article also quotes an AIP spokesperson who said the switch may be temporary in order to vote for a Democratic or Republican candidate on the June 7 primary.
A definitive count of the new affiliations is not available. However, Paul Mitchell, a political data specialist, traced about half (14,827) and gave this breakdown in The Times article:
- 36.5% re-registered as Republican
- 32.5% re-registered as Democrats
- 30% re-registered as unaffiliated (“no party preference” voters)
Interestingly, a Californian who registers as “no party preference” can vote for a Presidential candidate in the Democratic, AIP or Libertarian party.
These same voters are prevented from voting for a Republican, Green or Peace & Freedom presidential candidate. To do so, they must re-register with one of those parties. This information is provided by the CA Secretary of State in a Quick Reference Guide.
There are a whopping 39 Presidential candidates on California’s June 7 ballot. Here’s the breakdown:
- 7 DEMOCRATS including Clinton and Sanders
- 5 REPUBLICANS including Trump, Cruz, Carson and Kasich
- 7 AMERICAN INDEPENDENT PARTY
- 5 GREENS including Jill Stein
- 12 LIBERTARIANS including Gary Johnson
- 3 PEACE and FREEDOM candidates
Johnson, the former GOP governor of New Mexico, has been promoted by some in the fading #NeverTrump movement as an alternate candidate.