'No party preference' voters need to request presidential primary ballot in CA

California voters will go to the polls in less than two months.  The state's primary is now on March 3.  As Super Tuesday approaches, some experts worry a large block of voters won't get their voices heard in the presidential primary. 

“Really worried about people who don’t know they’re registered as 'no party preference,' don’t know they got the postcard, don’t know they have to return the postcard," said Professor Jessica Levinson, who teaches election law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. 

Professor Levinson wants to remind the roughly 5.6 million "no party preference" voters in the state, they need to request a "cross-over" ballot to vote in a presidential primary.  If they don't, Levinson says it could impact which way the state's delegates go. “It’s not just a storm, it’s a tornado or a hurricane and earthquake come together, to potentially be able to affect who becomes the Democratic nominee," said Levinson.  

The national parties set the rules, states and local registrars follow them.  To vote in the Republican primary, you  must be registered to the party. But, the Libertarian, American Independent and Democratic parties allow nonpartisan voters to participate, if they request a ballot. “We’ve received almost 20,000 back so pushing 20% return rate which is 20,000 panicked voters who don’t have to call," said Scott Konopasek, the assistant registrar of voters for Contra Costa county. 

Contra Costa got a head start, sending out postcards in early December to vote-by-mail, no preference voters.  They were proactive after reports of a DMV glitch overriding people's party choices, though the state has disputed that. Konopasek's message to voters in his county and beyond is simple. “You can look yourself up, see what your affiliation is, if you want to change it, you can do it right there online," said Konopasek. "It’s simple. Prepare yourself for the election.”

You can check your registration status here: https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/