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Independents in California can vote Republican in 2020 presidential election

June 16, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: All California voters if you are registered to vote as an independent you will not be able to vote Republican come 2020. You must go online and change to Republican. California changed the rules and is hoping no one figures it out in time. 

AP’S ASSESSMENT: Partly false. The post does not apply to the general election this fall. 

THE FACTS: During California’s presidential primary election on March 3, independent voters also known as “no party preference” voters could vote in the Democratic presidential primary without changing their party affiliation, but not in the Republican primary. A post which circulated at the time of the primary is recirculating now to make it appear as though California’s independent voters will not be able to vote Republican in the general election unless they change their party affiliation to Republican. 


“California voters please read,” says a June 6 Facebook post, featuring a text post spreading the false information about independent voters. The post had more than 5,000 shares. 

The California Secretary of State’s office confirmed to the AP that independent voters were only barred from voting Republican in the presidential primary. During the general election in November they can vote for a candidate belonging to any party.

The Democratic Party, American Independent Party and Libertarian Party all notified the Secretary of State’s office that they would be allowing California’s “no party preference voters” to request their party’s presidential ballot in the March 3 presidential primary election. More than 5.4 million Californians are listed as “no party preference” voters. 

In February, The Associated Press reported that “no party preference” voters in California who vote by mail could apply for a crossover ballot to vote Democrat or re-register as Republicans to vote in the Republican presidential primary. The GOP and national party leaders set the rules for the Republican presidential primary barring “no party preference” voters from voting.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: