A federal lawsuit alleging widespread confusion over California's presidential primary rules asks that voter registration be extended past Monday's deadline until the day of the state's primary election on June 7.
"Mistakes are being made," said William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney who filed the lawsuit Friday.
At issue is whether voters understand the rules for the presidential primary, which differ from those governing other elections in California.
Unlike statewide primaries — where voters now choose any candidate, no matter the political party — the presidential contests are controlled by the parties themselves. Democrats have opened up their primary between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to voters that have no political affiliation, known in California as having "no party preference."
But the lawsuit alleges elections officials in some of California's 58 counties aren't making that clear to these unaffiliated voters.
"There's mass confusion," Simpich said in an interview on Saturday night. "This is a situation that really shouts out for some uniformity."
Simpich said a judge should require state elections officials to conduct a broad public awareness campaign about the voting rules before May 31, the deadline for requesting a ballot by mail.
And to ensure unregistered Californians aren't disenfranchised in the presidential contest, the lawsuit asks voter registration be extended from its deadline on Monday until June 7, the day of the election.
There is no indication yet of whether a judge will agree with the suit.
Yes, this reeks of enlightened self-interest for Team Bernie, but the point is that it's not just red states that have issues with voting (Gosh, if there were only something like a national Voting Rights Act that would establish equal standards for all US voting, preferably legislation that hadn't been completely gutted by the Supreme Court recently.)
Sure, this is all about helping Bernie's vote (and delegate) totals in the Golden State, but it doesn't mean the changes aren't necessary. California's primary system really is confusing and the rules need to be made more clear, and considering one in seven US voters live here, it's rather important to the nation that this gets fixed sooner rather than later.
So yeah, here's hoping the suit allows more people to vote and vote correctly in the state's primary. I'm no fan of open primaries, but if that's the rule of the state, it needs to be clearly enforced and made clear to voters that this is how the primary works. That's on the state to perform, and if they're not doing the job, then the federal government needs to step in.
It's the same principle that applies to voter ID laws, they are there simply to disenfranchise, and again, the feds need to step in.
Having said all that, Sanders is still lying to his supporters about his chances in interviews in California.
“Here’s the math,” he said. “there are polls that came out recently where Hillary Clinton actually lost to Donald Trump. So part of the math, is which candidate stands the best chance to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States? — and that’s me.”
If he does win the California primary, does he expect a divided convention?
“I think we have a realistic chance in the sense that if we do really well in California, and in the other five states, and the non-state primaries, it will be possible for us to get 50 percent of the pledged delegates,” Sanders said.
Sure, he just has to win more than 80% of the remaining delegates.
That's "realistic" right?