Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He has been published in the Boston Globe and the Baltimore Sun.
Unless an immediate mass media campaign is launched, or awareness otherwise raised, hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of voters for Bernie Sanders will have their votes thrown out and never counted, due to erroneous instructions reported by concerned poll workers, disenfranchising likely Sanders voters. The erroneous instructions affect independent voters who overwhelmingly break towards Sanders. In California, independent voters are registered as "No Party Preference" (NPP.)
California elections are overseen and administered by California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Hillary Clinton supporter who headlined a fundraiser for Clinton in Riverside on May 21st.
The voters have been given or told to use the wrong kind of ballot, "NPP" ballots rather than regular Democratic party ballots with the presidential candidates' names printed on them. Note to California voters: If you do not or did not see Bernie Sanders' name printed on your ballot, you have the wrong kind of ballot. You have until election day to go to the county’s voter registrar’s office to ask for a Democratic party ballot, or ask for it at your polling place on Election Day.
Stand outside your polling station with signs reminding "NO BERNIE PRINTED ON BALLOT= NO VOTE!"
Last week independent journalist Greg Palast reported:
"I am currently reporting from Southern California, and there’s an Ashley Beck, who is a poll worker in conservative Orange County. She was being trained with other poll workers, and they were given some very strange information. In the California primary, the independent voters registered as NPP, or no party preference, can vote in the Democratic primary. They can ask for a ballot and they are allowed to vote. The Orange County poll workers were told if NPP voters ask for a Democratic Party ballot to vote for Bernie or Hillary, they are not to be given regular ballots, but provisional ballots. This shook up Ashley."
Ms. Beck told Palast:
“I was told that all NPP voters are to be given provisional ballots. I was bothered by that, because I was always told that NPP voters in California can vote for Democrats and their vote would be counted. I was a little worried that he was telling all 18 of us poll workers to give all NPP voters provisional ballots. We all know what happens most of the time with provisional ballots. They are not being counted.”
"Provisional" ballots differ from regular Democratic party ballots in that they have no presidential candidates printed on them. True Democratic primary ballots have "Bernie Sanders" and "Hillary Clinton" printed on them.
Palast, in an interview with Dennis Bernstein for Reader Supported News, pointed out that the phenomenon of record numbers of independent voters seeking to vote in this year's primaries, overwhelmingly consists of Sanders partisans. The votes thrown out will almost all be Sanders votes, Palast said.
The polling firm Political Data Inc. told NBC affiliate KCRA News in Sacramento that, according to their data, 58% of independent voters who sought to cast a Democratic ballot would have voted for Sanders, while just 37% said they would vote for Clinton.
A search of California media coverage of the incorrect instructions shows only the KCRA report, which suggests that going into the CA primary this Tuesday, untold numbers of voters are still headed toward casting votes that won't count.
In addition, the ballot confusion comes amid reports that, similarly to what happened in Arizona and New York, voters are finding their party affiliations mysteriously changed, sometimes disqualifying them from voting in the Democratic primary. Voters should exercise extreme vigilance in checking their recorded voter registrations online.
A CA citizen's group, the Voting Rights Defense Project, filed a lawsuit last month as numerous instances of the misinformation on state websites spread, asking the judge to order the state to issue correct information via a mass media campaign before this Tuesday's primary. Federal Judge William Alsup threw out the suit, saying “The citizens of California are smart enough to know what their rights are.”
Secretary of State Padilla's office fought the lawsuit and denied any public awareness campaign was needed.
The approaching fiasco unfolds as Hillary Clinton continues to fight for a tie in the polls with Donald Trump, while Sanders maintains a wide lead over Trump in head-to-head, general election polls. The polls suggest that independent voters who support Sanders will not will not transfer their allegiance, and votes, to Hillary, if she is the nominee. Sanders maintains a comfortable 11 point lead over Trump, while Clinton is now fighting to stay neck-and-neck.
At the same time heavy blows continue to rain down on the Clinton candidacy, not least a scathing State Department report on her deletion of thousands of emails in violation of the Public Records Act, and her use of an unsecure email account during her time as Secretary of State, which national security experts say compromised the nation's secrets. CIA Director and former NSA Director Michael Hayden told USA Today;
"I would lose all respect for a whole bunch of foreign intelligence agencies if they weren't sitting back, paging through the emails,"
As Trump rises in the polls in relation to Clinton, renewed questions about the Clinton Foundation keep surfacing, as well as old ones, such as a report from the liberal Mother Jones Magazine that the acceptance by the Clintons of large gifts from the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates posed thorny questions about approval of arms deal to these countries by Clinton while she was Secretary of State.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
Jack Exton on July 02, 2016:
In the 2 precincts I was working at, Independents were given AIP ballots
No presidential candidates were on this ballot or 4 others, that were given to voters. 3 ballots had presidential candidates: Democratic, Republican and Democratic - NNP. Why not 3?
ecowaters on June 10, 2016:
1. I'm unaffiliated, and this didn't happen at the San Mateo, Calif. poll.
2. When you register unaffiliated, you should know that means you are not a democrat, so you can't directly play in their sandbox without some alteration. That was explained when I registered to vote in Calif. Time to climb out of conspiracy land. My fellow Bernie supporters are embarrassing me.
Dennis Downey on June 10, 2016:
A little more information. A provisional ballot is only required if you had signed up for vote by mail and could not surrender you vote by mail ballot. Yes, California tracks vote by mail voters. The provisional pink folder will contain a standard, NOT special ballot. If the voter could surrender their vote by mail ballot, or weren't signed up for vote by mail they were given them and voted in all ways like other voters,
Peter Calvet on June 08, 2016:
How stupid do you have to be if you don't know that Bernie is running in the Democratic Party? If you don't have a Democratic ballot you are not voting in the Democratic Party primary. If you are this stupid maybe you should consider voting for Trump. He specializes in stupid.
Allan on June 07, 2016:
What a crooked country you live in.
Dominic - Poll Inspector on June 06, 2016:
If you are NPP, Your Roster clerk should ask if you want to crossover to DEM, AI, or LIB for the presidential candidate. The ballot clerk should then hand you the correct ballot - DEMOCRATIC Crossover if you want to vote for Bernie. You will crossover for this election only. If you choose to stay NPP, you will NOT be able to vote for a Presidential candidate.
munkle on June 06, 2016:
Anyone can stand with any sign they want as long as it is the prescribed distance from the polling station. Too bad Bill Clinton didn't obey this law when he walked into a polling station to campaign for Hillary. Yes NPP voters can choose their ballot but your reading comprehension is obviously limited. The article states that NPP voters are being given the wrong information if they want to vote in the Democratic primary, not that they cannot choose among ballots. In addition to corrupt Killery supporters are also stupid.
FED on June 06, 2016:
This article is completely wrong. NPP voters can choose their ballot. Including democrat. Also DO NOT Stand outside with signs. You will be told to leave the area!
Steve on June 05, 2016:
This is some seriously stupid Berni Bot conspiracy nonsense here.
A "No Party Preference" ballot is not a "wrong" ballot; it is the ballot one would expect to receive if one has not declared a party preference. However, in California, political parties have the option of allowing No Party Preference voters to vote for their candidates, so NPP voters can get a Democratic ballot simply by asking for one.
It's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that poll workers should automatically hand out Democratic ballots to NPP voters. For one thing, the Libertarian Part and the American Independent Party also allow NPP voters to ask for one of their ballots.
Technically, political parties do not have to allow NPP voters to receive their ballots. If the Democratic Party really wanted to deep-six non-Democrats from voting for Sanders, they could have just not allowed them to have the ballots. Instead, they opted to allow NPP voters to vote for their presidential candidates (unlike the Republican Party).
Also, whoever wrote the article has no idea what a "provisional" ballot is, mistaking it for an NPP ballot. Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a "provisional" ballot, in the sense of there being a different kind of ballot. "Provisional" just means the ballot is put in a different kind of envelope (pink) so that the election board can check and make sure no mistake has been made (i.e., someone voting in the wrong precinct). Despite what Ashley Beck says, provisional ballots are counted like any others.
Libraridan on June 05, 2016:
"Wah, we being robbed because we not paying attention!!"
This is what you get when you have short attention span voters, ginned up by the rock star of the moment. I am voting for Bernie but I am disgusted with the whiners and entitled Berniebots who think their way should magically appear because of wanting. It is an immature understanding of the hard realities of politics. If you really want change, you have to WORK for it, not just POST for it.
bobbygoode on June 05, 2016:
I'm a poll worker. NPP voters can vote in the Democratic primary. That's how we were trained. That's how it's been. This is a non controversy. Now the secretary of state is corrupt. It is part of the ongoing Bern "strategy" to call fraud on elections he loses, and thereby delegitimizing Clinton (in case by some miracle she is actually nominated). It is self destructive (to him and to the Democratic Party) and increasingly tiresome.
Kelley F on June 05, 2016:
thousands of people showed up for Bernie when he came to AX....many more than Hillary yet somehow Hillary steals the votes...how many people has she paid off to get the vote....
veronica on June 05, 2016:
ashley beck's video is gone. here's one that works for another poll worker. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW0bfSsdRbY
munkle on June 05, 2016:
Hooray! A commenter says the correct information is being given in at least one place. Pat yourselves on the back. A human tidal wave should rise in California to knock Killery off her perch.
VelvetBlue17 on June 05, 2016:
Why didn't the Sanders campaign use some of its $200M+ to educate their NPP voters to ask for the proper (cross-over) ballot instead of $M+ trips to the Vatican, PR vacations and $800K+ to Tad Devine for a month? How hard is it to email his supporters and let them know? Pretty easy, and there's been a lot of media coverage of it as well. They could have even temporarily changed their registration to Democratic by May 24th if they wanted to be sure they'd get to vote for BS with no extra step.
A whole 10 minutes to drive to the county registrar's office and 5 minutes in line to get a crossover ballot? Boo hoo, that has to be a record in CA. You can ask for a cross-over ballot at the polling place anyway. Cut out the whining and blaming, grow up and take responsibility
Ima Hvinagredei on June 05, 2016:
I still have not received my mail ballot.
Pam wilson on June 05, 2016:
I'm a poll worker in Placer County. A NPP voter has a choice between Dem, American Independent, or Libertarian ballot. If they decline any ballot, then the NPP ballot they receive will NOT have presidential candidates.
Anne M Parent on June 05, 2016:
I called San Francisco's Voters Elections office from Florida. They didn't know who I was but I asked about the NPP and what type of ballot that I needed to vote legally. I was told that I would need " Democratic Cross-Over Ballot. So there you have it. This is what you will need to make your vote count. If it isn't anything else that may mean yours may have come in the mail or your at the wrong Polling Station. Look up your polling station and go there instead to also make your vote count. They did this to eliminate people from voting twice. It makes good sense to recheck your status before election day. I have voted here in Florida back in March. I know mine counted. But all the crap that has come out on these candidates is a game changer for real. I know I made the right choice. :)
Edward Hashima on June 05, 2016:
It's not deliberate voter suppression or fraud. You get what you asked for, and if you're NPP like me, that's what they sent you (you told the county registrar that you had "no preference"). The voter information guide does contain a post card to return to request a "cross-over" ballot (just like the one you used to send in to receive an "absentee" ballot), but it's not convenient. In Sacramento County, it took me 10 minutes of driving and five minutes of waiting to obtain a cross-over ballot at the county registrar's office (YMMV in larger urban areas like LA County). Also, voting in CA is conducted at the county level, and if there are problems with poll workers and polling places, that's on the county registrar's office.
Lisa Armstrong on June 05, 2016:
My mother is a poll worker in Santa Cruz county. They were given the correct directions. The NPP voters that request a Democratic ballot are to be given a Democratic Cross-Over Ballot. There are also Cross-Over Ballots for American Independent Party and Libertarian Party because those parties also allow NPP voters that request it to vote in their election. I have a friend in the North bay that is also a poll worker and she too was given the correct directions. Just because one place gave bad directions does not mean it is a statewide conspiracy.
Peggy James on June 04, 2016:
1000's of democrats may soon be leaving the corrupt DNC. It is shameful when the younger generation have had to continually call them out for dishonest tactic this past year while insisting on their chosen candidate who is under FBI investigation and possibly facing indictment. "Senator Sanders has all the qualities of a true leader and public servant including honesty, humility, intelligence, experience, authenticity, experience, fairness, kindness, and he is passionate about helping all children succeed in this country, thus building a stronger and brighter USA for future generations. He received over 86% of the vote in his home state due to his character, competence, and integrity. Vote smart. Vote Bernie Sanders"
dani on June 04, 2016:
Why is this report not published or given to an independent news paper in California. Like the SF Examiner who endorsed Sanders or the Onions or other local newspapers in all of California municipalities.? Please EXPOSE this abuse to our Democracy