“Decline to state” voters barred from GOP primary

California voters registered as “decline to state” cannot vote Republican in the proposed February 2008 presidential primary.

The state party’s by-laws restrict participation to registered Republicans in the selection of a presidential nominee, reports conservative blogger and party official Jon Fleischman.

The party does allow decline-to-state voters to pull a Republican ballot in the primaries for congressional and state partisan offices.

Party loyalists say it’s not fair for folks to drop into the Republican primary and skew the results away from the views of true — and probably more conservative — Republicans. Let them register as Republicans if they want to vote Republican.

But party pragmatists point to the rapidly growing numbers of decline-to-state voters at the expense of the parties. Eighteen percent of the state’s voters register as decline-to-state. Does the Republican Party want to exclude the voices of nearly 3 million people? How will that open up the tent door and revive interest in the party, they ask?

The party could change its bylaws but the next state GOP convention won’t take place until September, long after the national party’s deadline to submit election rules.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen