Capitol Alert

Many independents voting on Democratic ballots in Yolo County

Voters came to the County Registrar of Voters in San Diego on foot and by car to drop off their ballots on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Election officials in Yolo County said some no-party preference voters wanted to switch their mail ballots for Democratic primary ballots.
Voters came to the County Registrar of Voters in San Diego on foot and by car to drop off their ballots on Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Election officials in Yolo County said some no-party preference voters wanted to switch their mail ballots for Democratic primary ballots. TNS

The 2016 California primary has been Yolo County’s biggest year for “no party preference” voters crossing over to vote on Democratic Party ballots, according to an official with the Yolo Elections Office.

The prediction is based on early reports from Yolo County polling places, which have reported unusually high numbers of these “crossover” voters.

California’s election rules are complex, and it depends on each individual party whether or not they allow independent voters to participate in the primaries. As the Bee previously reported, the California Democratic party allows no party preference voters to vote as long as they request a partisan ballot by mail or at the polling place, while the Republican party does not allow independent voters to vote in their primary contest.

Based on early reports from Yolo County polling stations, there have also been a large number of angry people registered with the American Independent Party that were under the impression that they were registered as independents. When voters register with the American Independent Party, under California’s presidential primary rules, they are unable to request a ballot for another party.

A representative from the Placer County elections office said presidential primary years are a period of “re-education” on the voting rules not just for the voters, but also for the elections staff.

Elections offices in Placer and Sacramento Counties did not have any out-of-the ordinary reports from their polling stations as of 5 p.m. Tuesday evening.

Rachel Cohrs: 916-321-1046, @rachelcohrs

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