County Registrar Addresses Voter Concerns for Election

By J. Douglas Allen-Taylor
Tuesday January 22, 2008

California voters who have not registered with any party can vote in next month’s Democratic presidential primary if they request a ballot from their local Registrar of Voters office. 

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Public Information Officer Guy Ashley clarified that issue by telephone last week after the Daily Planet received complaints from several independent voters about confusion over the Feb. 5 primary. 

Ashley answered several other voter concerns during his interview: 

• The California Democratic Party runs an open primary. The California Republican Party does not. Non-partisan registered voters—that is, those who answer “decline to state” when asked to declare their party affiliation when they register to vote—can vote in the Democratic primary, but not in the Republican primary. 

• If “decline to state” voters do not want to vote in the Democratic primary, they can still vote for the various state propositions and local measures on the Feb. 5 ballot. 

• In order to have a ballot mailed to them in time to vote on Feb. 5, absentee voters have until Jan. 29 to request a mailed ballot from the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office. After Jan. 29, absentee voters will still be able to come into the Registrar of Voters office themselves between Jan. 30 and election day to pick up a ballot to vote. On election day itself, absentee voters can still go down to their precinct voting station and vote if they have not received a ballot by mail. 

• In answer to a question about a woman who said she had been asked to provide her Social Security number and drivers license in order to register, Ashley said that California election law now requires either a valid California Drivers License or state identification card number in order for a citizen to register. If the citizen does not have either card, they must provide the last four numbers only of their Social Security card in order to register. 

Voters with any other election or registration concerns are being urged to contact the Alameda County Registrar of Voters office directly at 272-6933. The contact number for absentee voting concerns, questions, or requests is 272-6973.