While our vote is the most precious privilege in a democracy, our Founder’s did NOT enshrine a positive right to vote in our Constitution or the Bill of Rights. leaving it to the individual States to decide which citizens get to vote. Since then however, additional groups of citizens have been granted – NOT the positive right to vote, but the right not to be excluded from voting based on membership in a particular demographic.
- The 14th Amendment prevents the federal government and any state from denying the right to vote based on race and granting citizenship to slaves freed by the 13th Amendment.
- The 19th Amendment prevents the federal government and any state from denying the right to vote on the basis of sex.
- The 26th Amendment prevents the federal government and any state from denying the right to vote to citizens 18 or older based on age.
In June 2010, California Voters approved Proposition 14 which transformed California’s non-Presidential elections from first-past-the-post to a nonpartisan blanket primary (similar to a two-round system). All candidates compete in a single primary election in June, with the top two vote getters (regardless of party) advancing to the general election in November. In 2016 the US Senate Race as well as the Congressional District 17 race was a runoff between two Democrats. Also in 2016, voters wishing to vote in the Democratic Presidential Primary, needed to be registered as Democrats which caused some confusion. The 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary will be held in March, rather than June, so we’ll watch to see what will be required.
California requires that voters be registered in the county that they reside and to re-register if they move or wish to change party preference.