The American Independent Party is California’s largest third party. A poll shows 73% may be in it by mistake. Are you one of them?
By John Myers, Christine Mai-Duc and Ben Welsh
April 17, 2016
With nearly half a million registered members, the American Independent Party is bigger than all of California’s other minor parties combined. The ultraconservative party’s platform opposes abortion rights and same sex marriage, and calls for building a fence along the entire United States border.
Based in the Solano County home of one of its leaders, the AIP bills itself as “The Fastest Growing Political Party in California.”
But a Times investigation has found that a majority of its members have registered with the party in error. Nearly three in four people did not realize they had joined the party, a survey of registered AIP voters commissioned by The Times found.
That mistake could prevent people from casting votes in the June 7 presidential primary, California’s most competitive in decades.
Voters from all walks of life were confused by the use of the word “independent” in the party’s name, according to The Times analysis.
Residents of rural and urban communities, students and business owners and top Hollywood celebrities with known Democratic leanings — including Sugar Ray Leonard, Demi Moore and Emma Stone — were among those who believed they were declaring that they preferred no party affiliation when they checked the box for the American Independent Party.
The survey of 500 AIP California members was conducted by telephone Feb. 9–11. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
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