This election season is too much. The other day I got a robo-call from Donald Trump. As soon as I heard that man’s voice on my answering machine (I screen all calls), I ran to pick up the receiver and hang up, wondering how in the hell I ended up on his call list. Just before hanging up, I heard him say something about the deadline for registering to vote in California.
As the Republicans have a closed primary here this year, that answered my question: I’m registered with no political party preference. His campaign wants to make sure that no one who wants to vote for him is locked out. Two of his own kids missed the registration deadline to vote for him in New York, after all. And though I have no love for any of the mainstream presidential candidates, yes, our election registration system is overly complicated.
Californians wanting to vote Democratic, on the other hand, can do so in this year’s primary if they are registered either as a Democrat or with no political party preference. Hence the reason for this post: Apparently many Californians who want to vote without an affiliation have been mistakenly registering with the American Independent Party. Doing so locks them out of voting for anyone but candidates from that party in the primary. And the far-right positions of those candidates would make some Republicans blush. Here’s a sampling of their party platform (emphasis added by me):
- We insist that marriage is between a man and a woman and assert the role of the law in establishing and reinforcing the mutual rights and obligations of that God-ordained contract.
- We support secure borders and immigration policies inviting the best of the world to join us in freedom. We emphatically demand that our borders be protected against intrusions by that most straight-forward and practical means, a fence, reinforced by all the necessary manpower and electronic surveillance.
- The Fourteenth amendment requires all States to apply all the protections they provide for life equally to all visitors or citizens, and to all born or unborn persons within the territories governed by their laws.
- We believe that all those who govern are the servants of God for the good of citizens. Therefore all governments are under God whether they like it or not!
If the above positions sound abhorrent to you, you might want to double-check your registration status to make sure you haven’t accidentally signed up with this party. (If, on the other hand, those positions sound good to you, please stay very far away from me for the rest of your life.)
The reason that I’ve tagged this entry with “ableism” is because of the inevitable comments that people who accidentally checked the wrong box on an election form are stupid or lazy. The name of this party is simply misleading, and confusing to people who want to be truly independent voters. As the LA Times piece points out, all sorts of voters have made this mistake, including prominent celebrities and relatives of politicians. There’s no shame in being confused. The American Independent Party might not be obligated to change their name, but the confusion and subsequent disenfranchisement does bolster the case for election reform.
So spread the word, Californians. Whether or not you intend to vote in this primary, make sure you aren’t propping up a party you don’t actually support.
Originally published at funcrunch.org on April 25, 2016.