Computer glitch wiped out tens of thousands of California voters' party preference - SFGate

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press 2014

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, a voter marks his ballot while voting in California. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2014, file photo, a voter marks his ballot while voting in California. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press 2014

If you're registered to vote in Contra Costa County, make sure to check your voter registration status sooner rather than later.

In a press release sent out by the Contra Costa County Elections Division Tuesday, voters were cautioned that during the 2018 roll-out of the automatic voter registration system, "some voters' party preference was overwritten." As such, individuals who registered with a party may have been swapped to "no party preference."

As of April 2018, any California resident — unless they opt out — is automatically registered to vote when they register a car or get a license from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Being listed as "no party preference" means would-be Democratic voters could have issues voting in the upcoming Democratic Presidential Primary scheduled for March 3, 2020. Although "no party preference" voters are allowed to vote in Democratic primaries in California, a vote-by-mail ballot must be specially requested from the voter's county elections office.

The Republican Party does not allow "no party preference" voters to vote in their presidential primaries.

"We're hopeful that voters take the opportunity to look at their registration status now, rather than after ballots are mailed or on Election Day," acting registrar of voters Deborah Cooper said in a press release.

NBC Bay Area reports the issue could have affected tens of thousands of registered voters. Pew reported in October that the DMV found over 100,000 registration errors from the automatic system, some of which were this party-overwriting issue.

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You can check your voter registration status and political party preference on the California Secretary of State website. You'll need your California driver's license or ID card number, as well as the last four numbers of your Social Security number.

Katie Dowd is an SFGATE Senior Digital Editor. Email: katie.dowd@sfgate.com | Twitter: @katiedowd

https://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/california-voter-registration-dmv-automatic-14902100.php