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'Independents' Can Vote for Democrats but Not Republicans in California Primary

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California is still a hue of royal blue in the bloody bruise that exemplifies partisan U.S. politics. But with the ludicrous and often homogeneous plans suggested by members of the so-called "right" and "left," California voters have only grown to embrace their right-to-choose in a people's democracy.

Californians who choose not to register as a red, blue, or third-party voter -- "Decline to State" voters -- comprise nearly one-fifth of the state's registered voters according to the Secretary of State's office. That's a 50 percent increase in voters registered "Decline to State" compared to the same point in the 2000 election cycle, according to California voter registration data. (In the 1999 survey of registered voters 46 percent were registered Dems, 35 percent Republicans; in 2007, those numbers are 43 and 34, respectively.)

But Decline to State or unaffiliated voters will not necessarily be allowed to participate in the February 5th California primary. Why?

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The California Republican Party decided only to accept ballots cast by registered Republicans for next year's presidential primary.

California Democrats have a different view of the proposed Feb. 5, 2008, presidential primary. Decline-to-state voters can simply request a Democratic ballot, either by mail or at the polls, and have their choice recorded alongside those of the party regulars. -- SF Chronicle

Does the CA GOP's lack of interest in attracting independent voters reflect a concern that many would be quicker to vote for a Ron Paul or Mike Huckabee than for a Republican candidate that has relied much heavier on the fund-raising, lobbying, and campaigning efforts of state GOP officials?This is the first time either of the major parties refused to open ballots to Decline to State voters since a 2000 Supreme Court decision ruling that political parties can choose whether or not to open primaries to unaffiliated California voters.

This would never happen in New Hampshire (or the 20+ states that ignore voters' party affiliation altogether at primaries). But if California Republicans really want to impact future presidential election cycles, it's time to accept and embrace the unaffiliated voter.

Photo (by me) of postcard received from CA SoS a few days after submitting the online change-of-address form. Apparently their default font is Comic Sans?!?