by Michael Novick
The deadline to register to vote or to change your partisan preference in California for the June 7 primary is on May 23. Republicans are holding a closed Presidential primary, meaning only registered Republicans can participate. In the Democratic primary, registered Democrats and ìno party preferenceî voters are allowed to cast a ballot. The LA Times recently disclosed that tens of thousands of voters who meant to register as “independent” mistakenly registered with the American Independent Party, a hard-right outfit formed to advance the candidacy of segregationist George Wallace for president. There is no “independent” choice for registration; it used to say “decline to state” and is now “no party affiliation,” with a warning that this may bar you from voting in certain primaries (although that is also true for any party affiliation you may choose).
CA uses an open primary system for state and local offices, with the top two vote-getters regardless of party advancing to the general election (which effectively knocks most “third party” candidates off the November ballot). But for the presidential primary election, the parties get to choose who may vote in their party primary. Most of the parties restrict presidential preference voting to registered party members, but the Democrats (and the AIP) allow “no party affiliation” registrants to vote in their primary.
In Los Angeles County, you check your voter registration online at or by calling the county registrar at (800) 815-2666. In CA, you can register to vote online or re-register (if you wish to change your party affiliation) at Don’t use that form to register or re-register to vote if you are enrolled in a confidential address program such as Safe at Home. If sharing your address could put you in life-threatening danger, you may be eligible to register to vote confidentially. For more information, contact the Safe at Home program at (877) 322-5227 or visit
To register online you will need your California driver license or California identification card number, the last four digits of your social security number and your date of birth. Your information will be provided to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to retrieve a copy of your DMV signature. If you don’t have a California driver license or California identification card, you can still use the form to apply to register to vote by completing the online interview by 11:59:59 p.m. Pacific time on the 15th calendar day before an election (May 23 this year).

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