SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Hundreds of calls have poured into the Sacramento County elections office from registered voters who are concerned their chosen political parties may be left off the ballot.
The calls came in response to 80,000 mailers that began arriving in mailboxes this week.
Barbara Wells quickly became suspicious when she got hers.
“I just thought something’s not right here,” she said.
The letter explained her voter registration status as choosing no party preference and how it let her choose which presidential primary she could vote in.
“The way I was reading this letter, I would have to chose one of the following options if I wanted to be able to vote,” she said.
But out of the three options, the Republican party was not one of them.
“I almost drew a box and said ‘Republican’ next to it,” she said.
The letter triggered hundreds of confused calls to the county elections office.
“I would say most of them are confused,” said county voter registrar Jill LaVine. “It’s like, ‘Wait a minute, you don’t have all the parties listed on here. Why can’t I choose the party I want to be in.”
The letter, it turns out, is no error. Since Wells is registered as a nonpartisan voter, she can only vote in the Democratic, American Independent and Libertarian primaries—the three parties that have allowed crossover voting.
The Republican, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties all do not allow non-partisan voters.
That decision affects nearly 1 in 4 voters who have chosen the no party preference option in California.
“If their party is not there, they still can vote in that party, but they’ll have to re-register in that party choice,” LaVine said.
So if Wells wanted to vote in the Republican primary, she would have to register as a Republican.