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Presidential primary voting reform potentially coming to California
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Assemblymember Adam Gray (D-Merced) and the Independent Voter Project (IVP) announced a new state constitution amendment that would eliminate separate balloting for California voters and instead create a single nonpartisan ballot.

This amendment would allow voters to cast their vote for president without the limitation of their party affiliation.

“When voters fill out their ballot they expect to be able to vote for their candidate of choice, regardless of political party,” said Gray in a press release Thursday. “While voters have that right in every other state and federal election, their choices are artificially limited when voting for President of the United States. My legislation fixes that problem (…).”

This amendment follows a resolution, ACR 145, which was proposed by Assemblymember Kristin Olsen (R-Modesto), State Senator Antony Canella (R-Ceres) and IVP in an effort to alleviate some of the election cycle voter confusion.

ACR 145 was announced back in March, urging Secretary of State Alex Padilla to provide an additional, nonpartisan presidential ballot that lists all the qualified candidates so that voters have an opportunity to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choosing.

“ACR 145 strikes a balance between the constitutionally-protected rights of voters to select a presidential candidate – regardless of political party preference – with the rights of political parties to determine who may or may not participate in their private nomination proceedings,” Assemblymember Olsen said.

Over 18,000 California voters showed support for ACR 145; however, the resolution did not come to pass in the Assembly Elections Committee earlier this year.

Assemblymember Gray’s proposal differs from ACR 145 in a few major ways.  Instead of separate ballots to be included with the existing ones, the state would issue just one ballot and list all the candidates. This essentially means it would be condensing the balloting to be done all on a singular platform.

The proposal also would allow every voter to vote for the candidate of their choice, regardless of their party affiliations. This would allow voters to cross party lines if they choose.  Independent candidates will also would now be allowed to participate for the first time.

Finally, political parties would also be given the choice whether or not to count the votes from non-party members.