In California, the voter registration deadline to participate in the June 7 primary is tomorrow, Monday, May 23. A lawsuit, though, filed by supporters of Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, is asking that the deadline be extended up until the day of the election.
The attorney who filed the lawsuit on Friday, William Simpich of Oakland, told the Los Angeles Times, “Mistakes are being made.”
The lawsuit alleges that election officials in some of the 58 counties in California have not made it clear to unaffiliated voters that the Democratic primary is open to them.
Simpich continued, “There’s mass confusion. This is a situation that really shouts out for some uniformity.”
Simpich is asking that a judge require state elections officials to “conduct a broad public awareness campaign about the voting rules.”
Since the lawsuit’s very recent filing, there has not been any indication as to whether a judge will agree with it.
The plaintiffs in the case include two Bay Area voters and the American Independent Party, which is NOT just the party for independent voters. A group called the Voting Rights Defense Project is also listed as a plaintiff in the case. This group is described as being “an organization campaigning to heighten voter education and voter turnout for their candidate, Bernie Sanders.”
Defendants that the lawsuit names include registrars of voters in San Francisco and Alameda counties as well as Secretary of State Alex Padilla. A spokesman for Padilla has so far declined to comment on the suit.
The Los Angeles Times explains the details and specific concerns that the suit addresses:
‘The suit focuses on whether ‘no party preference’ voters who intend to cast ballots by mail understand they can ask for a ballot from one of the three parties that allow them to cross over and participate in the race for president: the Democratic Party, the Libertarian Party, and California’s American Independent Party.’
Political Data Inc., a company that is paid to analyze voter information of California residents, found information that may back up the plaintiffs’ claim that not all counties have made it clear to voters that they can request a ballot from one of the three parties. As of last week, only 9 percent of “no party preference” voters in Los Angeles County had been mailed a Democratic ballot.
Neal Kelley, who is a registrar of voters in Orange county and president of the state association of elections officials, said that California cannot possibly allow for voters to register on election day. Although California does have plans to move to a same day registration system in 2018, as of now, according to Kelley, “The infrastructure’s not in place.”
The current primary election and caucus system set up in the United States is incredibly confusing, as has been evidenced throughout this election as complaints of voter fraud run rampant. It is understandable that Sanders supporters, who have tapped into the fact that the Democratic Socialist does much better in open primaries, would be frustrated by the fact that California voters are not being made aware of their option to vote for Sanders.
It is unclear where things will go from here, but with California being the biggest prize out of all the states in terms of delegates, it is unlikely that the supporters of any of the remaining candidates will go down without a fight.
Featured image via Getty.