Make sure your vote counts

Check your registration status to ensure you get the right presidential ballot June 7

Like it or not, the Democratic nominee for president is not yet decided. With California being the largest state left to hold its primary election, it’s possible that our votes will help determine the winner. Here’s the catch: If you’re one of the more than 500,000 California voters registered in the American Independent Party, you’ll be left out.

California has what’s called closed primaries. What that means is, if you’re a registered Democrat, you’ll have no trouble at the polls if you want to vote for Sanders or Clinton. If you’d prefer to cast your vote for Donald Trump, however, you’re out of luck—only registered Republicans can vote for Republican presidential candidates. If you checked the box that says you decline to state your party, you’ll be able to vote, but only in Democratic, American Independent and Libertarian presidential races—you can choose at the polls or fill out a form sent to you if you vote by mail.

Here’s the rub: A survey by the Los Angeles Times recently found that three out of four voters registered as American Independents actually checked the wrong box when filling out their registration form. They mistakenly thought they were declaring themselves independent, as in someone who makes his or her own decisions. What they actually did was join the far-right American Independent Party. Those voters will receive AIP ballots come June 7 and will not be able to vote in the Democratic or Republican presidential race.

It’s actually very easy to check your registration status, and if you’re at all concerned, we urge you to do so soon. The final day to register before the June 7 primary is May 23. Same goes for changing party affiliation. Log onto to quickly check not only whether you’re registered, but also your party preference. The results also show your voting history.