This campaign season has been a learning experience in many states — now it’s California’s turn. Thousands, including celebrities like Demi Moore, registered for the wrong party and will have very limited choices in the semi-closed primaries on June 7th.
Ms. Moore officially registered for the American Independent Party (AIC) according to MSN, a conservative party that opposes abortion rights and gay marriage and wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Emma Stone and Sugar Ray Leonard also selected the AIC along with over 300,000 California voters.
The problem is they didn’t mean to. In fact, Demi Moore’s representative released a statement to distance the actress from the ultra-right wing party.
“Demi Moore is not, nor has ever been, a member of the American Independent Party.”
Thousands of people signed up for the wrong party by mistake, intending to declare themselves independent.
According to California’s Secretary of State’s Office, the American Independent Party has about 472,000 members, 2.7 percent of the statewide total. A Los Angeles Times telephone survey revealed that about three out of four registered members said they signed up for the wrong party.
As 64-year-old Deborah Silva explained, “I just blew it.”
“There were a number of choices. I just checked the box that said ‘independent.'”
Those people who registered for the wrong party will still be able to vote for their preferred candidate in the general election, but in the June 7th primary, they’ll only be able to vote for an AIC candidate.
The Democrats are holding a “semi-closed primary, meaning that only people who register with the Democratic party or “no party preference” can vote. The Republicans primary is completely closed, allowing only registrants’ ballots.
Silva explained she used to be with the Democrats, but it wasn’t worth the barrage of fundraising requests and telephone calls.
This year’s primaries are the most competitive in decades though. Two “outsider” candidates, Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side and Donald Trump on the Republican side, have reinvigorated interest in the process. Voters want to participate, they just don’t want to get stuck with the parties themselves. In California, that’s only possible on the Democratic side, and only for people who say “no party affiliation.”
As for the California’s AIC, before becoming the wrong party of choice, it was founded by segregationist George Wallace, 1964 presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination. It now only exists in California. But as Markham Robinson, chairman of the American Independent Party’s executive committee, explained, “We’re not segregationist anymore.”
“What we are now is a conservative, constitutionalist party.”
Many of the AIC’s policies may sound familiar, especially the idea of building a wall along the southern border. Although some Republican candidates would likely identify with the AIC, serious third-party runs are difficult. Voters fear that by supporting a third-party candidate, they’ll divide either the conservative or liberal vote, handing the election to the other ideological side.
That puts unconventional politicians into conventional parties. As new people come out in droves to register, they’re learning how complicated and sometimes frustrating primary voting can be, not only in California.
According to CNN, Donald Trump’s children, Eric and Ivanka Trump, found out they missed the deadline to register for New York’s closed primaries. The two described the process as “onerous.”
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Arizona faced accusations of voter suppression for unexpected long wait times in low-income areas. The county recorder responsible said that at least part of the problem was the amount of independents that registered to vote.
California’s issue of signing up for the wrong party is the latest frustration for people that are deciding for the first time that primaries and caucuses are important enough to join a mainstream party… if they have to.
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]