Thousands of Voters Register for Wrong Political Party

Wife of California Lt. Gov. encourages voters to check their registration records before the presidential primary.

Wife of California Lt. Gov. encourages voters to check their registration records before the presidential primary.

Many U.S voters consider themselves politically “independent” voters; that is, they are not   affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic political parties. However, a recent survey revealed that tens of thousands of ”independent” voters, including some celebrities, have mistakenly registered as members of the American Independent Party (AIP). The telephone survey of 500 members of the AIP found that almost 75% of those registered for the AIP mistook the ultraconservative far right wing party for the “no party preference” option. To many of those registering, the use of the word “Independent” in the party’s name was confusing or misleading.

When segregationist George Wallace of Alabama began his second campaign for the Presidency in 1967, he helped create the AIP and ran as the party’s presidential nominee. The party currently exists only in California. Chairman of the party’s executive committee said, “We’re not segregationist anymore. What we are now is a conservative, constitutionalist party.” The party opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage; it supports building a wall along the entire U.S. border. The California Secretary of State’s Office reported that the party has about 472,000 members.

The mistaken registration could prevent people from voting in the state’s June presidential primary. The Republican primary is for registered voters only. The Democratic primary is open to all registered members and to actual independent voters with “no party preference.” Voters affiliated with the AIP will only be allowed to vote for candidates on the AIP’s ballot.

Among the celebrities stating that they were misled by the name “Independent” were actresses Demi Moore, Emma Stone and Kaley Cuoco; boxer Sugar Ray Leonard; and Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Moore has contributed money to and campaigned for President Obama. Through a spokesman she said her registration as an AIP member is wrong. She is not, nor has she ever been, a member of the AIP and any record that states otherwise is a mistake. Schwarzenegger unintentionally selected the AIP when he registered to vote in 2013; a family spokesman said he plans to change his registration. Cuoco also said she was taking steps to remove her name as a member of the AIP. “The views of this party do not accurately reflect my personal beliefs”, she said.

California voters have until May 23 to register or change their voter registration status for the June 7 presidential primary.

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