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Open Primaries

Common Sense Party Supports IVP Lawsuit Challenging Constitutionality of California's Presidential Primary

There are now over 5.4 million No Party Preference (NPP) voters in California. They represent the fastest growing segment of the electorate and are the second largest voting bloc in California.

In 2016, however, there was widespread confusion over the rules that govern who can and cannot vote in the taxpayer-funded and publicly administered election process. 

This confusion inordinately affects NPP voters who must: (1) know which parties allow them to participate and, (2) actively request a “crossover” ballot to receive a ballot with that party’s presidential candidates.

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The consequence of this barrier to voter participation is the voter suppression of millions of California voters who either can’t or don’t know how to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice. This compromises the democratic integrity of every election on every ballot that is conducted alongside the presidential primary. This disparity in turnout will be even greater given that both major parties dedicate increasingly more resources to ballot harvesting.

California’s constitution is clear: the legislature shall provide for an “open” presidential primary. The United States constitution is clear: no one should be forced to associate with an organization they don’t support, especially not as a condition of participating in our taxpayer-funded election process.

California has a long history of advancing voting rights. But the current leadership in Sacramento is standing in the way of millions of voters and their right to vote.

This month, the Independent Voter Project filed an injunction against the California Secretary of State stating, among other claims, that California’s confusing semi-closed presidential primary puts the interests of political parties before the constitutional rights of California's voters. 

Tom Campbell, Interim Chairman of the Common Sense Party said, “We’ve started the Common Sense Party to represent a responsible, open, and inclusive approach to government. As part of that mission, we seek to represent voters across the political spectrum, including California’s 5.4 million NPP voters, whether they join our party or not.”

Independent Voter Project also offered a common sense solution to solve the confusion: simply give any voter who wants to participate a “public” ballot that lists all the Presidential primary candidates. 

Debbie Benrey, Interim Vice-Chair of the Common Sense Party said, “The IVP’s lawsuit offers a practical solution to avoid repeating the same voter confusion that occurred in 2016.  Why not just print a ballot that allows all voters to participate?  It’s simply common sense.”

The California Common Sense political organization (soon to be the Common Sense Party) stands alongside the Independent Voter Project and millions of NPP voters to support this important lawsuit against the California Secretary of State.

More information about the Common Sense Party can be found at cacommonsense.org or facebook.com/cacommonsense.

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