Lawsuit filed to extend last day to register to vote in California primary

- A federal lawsuit alleging widespread confusion over California's presidential primary rules asks that voter registration be extended past Monday's deadline until the day of the state's primary election on June 7.

"Mistakes are being made," said William Simpich, an Oakland civil rights attorney who filed the lawsuit Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

At issue is whether voters understand the rules for the presidential primary, which differ from those governing other elections in California.

Unlike statewide primaries -- where voters now choose any candidate, no matter the political party -- the presidential contests are controlled by the parties themselves. Democrats have opened up their primary between Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to voters that have no political affiliation, known in California as having "no party preference."

But the lawsuit alleges that elections officials in some of California's 58 counties aren't making that clear to these unaffiliated voters, according to The Times.

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"There's mass confusion," Simpich told The times in an interview. "This is a situation that really shouts out for some uniformity."

Simpich said a judge should require state elections officials to conduct a broad public awareness campaign about the voting rules before May 31, the deadline for requesting a ballot by mail.

To ensure unregistered Californians aren't disenfranchised in the presidential contest, the lawsuit asks voter registration be extended from its deadline today until June 7, the day of the election. There was no immediate
indication of whether a judge will agree with the suit. 

The plaintiffs include two Bay Area voters and the American Independent Party, which is allowing unaffiliated voters to cast presidential ballots, The Times reported. Also listed as a plaintiff is a group called the Voting Rights Defense Project, described as "an organization campaigning to heighten voter education and voter turnout for their candidate, Bernie Sanders," who will be campaigning in the Los Angeles area Monday.

The suit names the registrars of voters in San Francisco and Alameda counties as well as Secretary of State Alex Padilla as defendants.

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