California: No Reason to Register as a member of a Political Party—So Few Do

Editor’s Note: Maybe this is the best reason, low voter turnout, to rid ourselves of Proposition 14 which brought us open primary. Prop. 14 is killing off third parties, eliminating anyone identified as Libertarian or Green Party for example of ever making it on to the final ballot. It is cheating the voters.

EditorialBy Stephen Frank

Young people as they register for the first time understand the purpose of Prop.14—promoted by one very rich man (Charles Munger Jr.)—you do not need to be a Republican or Democrat to vote in a primary—and if you register as part of the Third Party, Prop. 14 assures no one from your Party will be on the ballot. The Republicans and Third Parties appear to have no voter registration drive this year. The Democrats have a couple of special interest groups doing specialized registration drives, but nothing like previous years. Why fight for registration when the people will most likely register as Decline to State.

We see the effect at the ballot box. There are 24 legislative races with only one Party on the November ballot. In June, we had historically low voter turnout. In 2012 in the 28 districts with one Party on the ballot, those districts averaged 11% LOWER turnout. Why should a GOP’er vote for an Obama Democrat vs. a San Fran Democrat? How can Democrats choose between a conservative Republican and a Tea Party conservative?

“Between September 1998 and September 2014, the number of decline-to-state voters has gone up dramatically, from 12.6 percent in 1998 to 23.1 percent currently. In a separate report last month on voter preferences, the Public Policy Institute of California reported that the percentage of decline-to-state voters had doubled between the November 1994 general election and the June 2014 primary – from 10.3 percent to 21.2 percent.”A rise in voters who shun party affiliation by John Howard, Capitol Weekly, 9/25/14


Need to put competition back into the role of politics if we want Party members and, more importantly–voters.

Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a full time political consultant.


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