One person, one vote
Disenfranchisement of Democratic voters during the presidential primaries has become a hot topic for discussion in the United States. Many voters in the Arizona primaries had to wait more than 8 hours to reach the voting booth, only to often find it already closed. The number of voting sites was also heavily restricted, particularly in those areas whose demographics tended to support #Bernie Sanders.
The people of Arizona are mad, very mad, and have demanded a second voting day to give the population a chance to express its democratic voice – which they will probably not get.
Now, it's been New York's turn. Following a massive Bernie Sanders rally in NYC, we discovered that over 126,000 people had been purged from the voter's registry in Brooklyn, a hotbed of progressive and radical political activity. The Wall Street Journal also reports widespread allegations of “faulty ballot scanners, [and] inadequate staffing at poll," which has prompted New York City officials to call for an audit of the State's Electoral Commission.
California, here we come
But this is nothing compared to what could be awaiting voters on June 7th, when the California primaries will take place. In fact, voter disenfranchisement of independents and progressive democrats has already begun in the “Golden State."
A recent LA Times investigation has unearthed the fact that around 73% of voters who wished to register as independents, instead were registered mistakenly with the American Independent Party. While Independents tend to comprise some of the most progressive elements in US politics (such as Bernie himself, before he ran for this presidential campaign as a Democrat), the American Independent Party “opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border. It may be for this reason that it is the fastest growing third-party in California.
Why is this important? Because in the Democratic presidential primaries, California holds 548 delegates. It's the biggest slice of the pie, and a win in California could secure the nomination for either Sanders or Clinton. However, due to California's electoral laws, if you are registered with a party affiliation (such as the AIP) you can only vote for that party's list of candidates come election time. This means that nearly one third of AIP's nearly 475,000 members (who thought they were registering as Independents) will not be allowed to cast their votes for either of the #Democratic Party's candidates and will have to vote for the AIP's or abstain instead.
As worrying as this sounds, it may not be the biggest problem California voters will face. There are numerous reports circulating on Social Media of Californians seeing their voter registration status changed, sometimes as often as three times within the same night. Most of these instances appear to involve people who have been registered as Democrats (some for decades) and who now suddenly see themselves “without party affiliation” in the electoral registry.
If you are a US citizen and voter, please make sure you check your voter registration status in your state's registry. Make sure that you are familiar with your state's electoral laws, and that you keep an eye out for any irregularities. #Election 2016