SACRAMENTO (AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill that would have required a staunchly conservative political party to change its name.

Newsom announced Wednesday he had vetoed a bill that would have banned political parties from using “no party preference,” “decline to state” or “independent” in their official names.

The bill would have applied to all political parties. But it was aimed at the American Independent Party, which has been an option for California voters since 1968. Democratic state Sen. Tom Umberg said the name confused voters into believing they were registering as an independent.

Newsom said he vetoed the bill because it could be interpreted as a violation of the rights of free speech and association guaranteed by the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press.

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