Stephen Ellison

‘No Party Preference' Label on Ballots Confuses Voters

Bay Area voters showed up in big numbers Tuesday, but some of them had a complaint about their ballots - namely party affiliation confusion.

About 20 percent of the voters at an Antioch polling station told the precinct captain that the party affiliation indication on their ballot said "N.P.P." - meaning no party preference. Many of those said it's the first time they've seen it on their ballots.

Voter Kym Kelley and her husband, Tony, were confused when they saw the label on Tony's sample ballot.

"He’s always been a Democrat," Kym Kelley said. "We haven’t moved; he hasn’t changed anything to do with his status.”

No party preference means in a presidential primary, such a voter can vote Democrat, Green Party or Libertarian, but not Republican.

The Contra Costa County elections officials say they're getting a lot of complaints about the ballot label, and there may be a reason it's happening.

"Oftentimes if they re-registered online and they don’t check a box to indicate a party preference, they default to no party preference,” said elections chief Joseph Canciamilla.

Kym Kelley said her husband didn't make any changes to his voter registration.

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