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Stealing California from Bernie — again?
Palast with KPFA's Sabrina Jacobs

My dear Californians, I know you filled out that registration form at the DMV. Well, you know what? I’ll bet you that your name is not going to be there because there’s a 45% chance in California when you sign up to register to vote on a piece of paper, your name is never entered on the voter rolls. Guess what? California has one of the worst voting systems in the entire nation.

I checked out my own registration. I took my own advice. I went to the office of the Secretary of State. I typed in “Greg Palast” and it said “no such voter”. So I reregistered online. There’s a simple cure for all this stuff — but you have to know you’ve been purged or never had your name properly entered. Go check and then reregister online. People are afraid to do things online, but in California you get an instant receipt that says you’re now a voter, here’s your voter card on the screen. Take that screenshot. I’m telling everyone to do this because California is just awful.

And we have a March 3rd primary. The California presidential primary’s now been moved up. I saw what happened to Bernie Sanders in 2016. People were improperly registered, not registered. There were three quarters of a million, and I want to repeat that, three quarters of a million ballots which were cast provisionally or on the wrong ballot, which were thrown out. Alex Padilla, the Secretary of State of California, a little Katherine Harris, he threw out three quarters of a million ballots. They were mostly Bernie voters. We know that from the Roper Poll of the demographic. Bernie Sanders won California in June, 2016, if you counted all the votes…

If you want to vote in the Democratic primary, go online to the Secretary of State’s office. Make sure you’re registered — and make sure you are registered as a Democrat. I’m not saying you should be a Democrat. I’m just saying if you want to vote in the Democratic primary, forget the urban myth that you can vote in the Democratic primary if you’re not registered as a Democrat. Yes, there’s a way to do it. But it’s so difficult and in some cases it’s impossible because the nice lady behind the desk doesn’t know the procedure and could mess it up.

For those who want to know the procedure, it’s really awful. In California, almost everyone gets a mail in ballot. That is, they send you a ballot. Now, if you’re registered, some people call it Independent, but if you’re registered as No Party Preference, which is what they call it in California, if you’re No Party Preference, you’ll get a ballot but it won’t have the presidential candidates. There were literally a million people who were like, where’s Bernie Sanders on the ballot? The answer is, if you’re not registered as a Democrat, you don’t get one of those ballots.

So what do you do? You can mail your No Party Preference ballot, which only has a couple of races cause they can’t give you the partisan races with the NPP ballot, you have to mail it back to the state in time. You have to sign it in the corner where it says, I want this ballot replaced by — and you’ve got to get these words exactly: “Democratic party crossover ballot”. It has to say “crossover” because literally hundreds of thousands of Californians — hundreds of thousands — went in with their No Party Preference ballots, walked into the voting station, said, give me a Democratic party ballot.

Now different things happen, but in many counties, including Los Angeles, a lot of these people behind the desk said, oh yeah, here’s the Democratic party ballot. Well, guess what? That gets disqualified because you are not a Democrat. You have to have a “crossover ballot”. In Los Angeles alone, 66,000 people voted in the Democratic primary in 2016 who are No Party Preference voters, Independents, they got Democratic party ballots and every one of those 66,000 ballots — that’s just LA — was about to be disqualified and thrown out. But you have a fairly good county elections supervisor here, county clerk in Los Angeles, who said, you know what? That’s just throwing away legitimate votes.

But LA is the only place in California that didn’t throw away your votes. If you voted in San Francisco and Berkeley, and you’re a No Party Preference voter and you voted with a Democratic ballot, your ballot did not count. You did not count, unless it specifically said “crossover” at the top…

So to make your life easy, if you want to vote in the Democratic primary, sign up as Democrat. You can change it the next day. And in California, since 2012 — and most people don’t realize this — we have same day registration. So if you do show up and your name is not on the voter rolls, please bring ID with you, a driver’s license, whatever photo ID you can find, anything, including something with your address on it like a cell phone bill. Cause if your name is missing, you can reregister on the actual voting day. Now, they made it very difficult to do that, and it’s still not easy, but they made it easier this time. You can say, well, if I’m not there, I want to register today. But why go through that? Register right now or check your registration right now.

This edition of KPFA’s A Rude Awakening with Sabrina Jacobs was first broadcast on Monday, January 13, 2020. Listen to Part 1 of the interview, How Trump’s Going to Steal the 2020 Election.

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, Armed Madhouse, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.
His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman

Palast is currently working on a new documentary Long Knife, exposing the Koch Brothers' theft of Osage oil, to be released in 2024.

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