Thousands of voters, including celebs, register as wrong party

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Tens of thousands of voters, including celebs, have mistakenly registered as members of a conservative minor political party in California due to a mix-up, a Los Angeles Times survey found.

The newspaper surveyed 500 members of the conservative American Independent Party and found nearly 75 percent didn't mean to register for that group.

The Times states that many of those surveyed saw the word "independent" in the party's title, and mistakenly assumed that meant they were registering to be an independent voter.

In California, voters who do not want to register with any party must check a box on a registration form for "no party preference."

Of people surveyed in the Times poll, fewer than 4 percent could correctly identify their own registration as a member of the American Independent Party.

The American Independent Party's roots date back to 1967 when George Wallace, a segregationist, launched his second run for the White House. Wallace, who had run as a Democrat in 1964, helped create the party and ran on its ticket. Today, that party exists only in California.

The AIP opposes abortion rights, same sex marriage and wants to build a fence along the entire U.S. border.

Demi Moore was among Hollywood celebrities with known Democratic leanings listed as members. She has contributed money to and campaigned for President Barack Obama. Her registration as an AIP member is wrong, a representative said.

When Patrick Schwarzenegger, son of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, registered to vote in 2013, he selected the American Independent Party. A spokesman said Schwarzenegger, 22, plans to change his registration.

The Times reported that the mistaken registration could prevent people from casting votes in the June 7 presidential primary, which is considered California's most competitive in recent years.

Voters affiliated with the American Independent Party will only be allowed to vote for candidates on the party's ballot, the Times reported. The Republicans will have a closed primary, while the Democrats will allow unaffiliated voters to participate.

The deadline to register or change voter registration status for the June 7 primary is May 23.

The survey of members of the American Independent Party was conducted by telephone Feb. 9-11. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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