Make it clear for nonpartisans
Are you a registered Independent? Did you think your ballot would contain all hopefuls running for office? Are you as confused as I am? You are not alone!
Turns out that “open primaries” were ruled illegal by the courts. Consequently, as registered “independents” there were no party candidates on our ballot, only propositions and non-party offices. According to a pamphlet published by the “Policy Issues Institute” I received on March 12 (eight days after the primary), we could have asked for the party ballot of our choice when we went to the polls. That was news to me and I read, watch and listen to a lot of news.
So I dug my “nonpartisan” sample ballot out of the recycle bin to see if I had missed something and could find nothing. I called the Department of Elections and asked them about it, and was told that the information’s on the back of the sample ballot inside the pink box labeled “Application for Absentee Voter’s Ballot.” Inside that box is another box with the heading “Decline to State” and “Voters Not Affiliated With a Political Party.” Not exactly a place to look if you know you going to the polling place. And there are no instructions in that box about asking for a ballot at the polls! Also, did you miss the orange piece of paper that supposedly was on the table at the polls? I did. Guess I was too busy talking to the poll workers to be informed verbally when they handed me the ballot with nothing on it!
I suggest that next time clear instructions be placed on the front page of the sample ballot under the “nonpartisan” heading. I suggest that poll workers be instructed to inform voters when we sign in. Clearly the elections board was not trying to hide anything; they just did a lousy job of informing voters of our rights and consequently many people did not get to vote for the candidates of their choice. I also want back the true nonpartisan primaries that California voters voted for.
S. Bryer Keane
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