Confusion Over the American Independent Party

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SACRAMENTO --

California's third largest political party, after Republican and Democrat, is the American Independent Party. If you're one of the 500,000 people registered as an AIP member, this is your party platform.

"We're social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, strong national defense conservatives, pro-second amendment, pro-life,” said Markham Robinson, who chairs the party from his home in Vacaville.

For California's June 7 primary vote, party members will see a list of seven candidates, all conservative. He says it will likely include Trump and will not include any of the Democratic candidates.

"The state convention, which has the final authority, will consider the recommendations of our new national party,” said Robinson.

"It's a very conservative right-wing political party that didn't seem to be attracting these kinds of voters based on their platform, but more so based on voter confusion,” said Paul Mitchell, who organized an LA Times survey of 500 AIP voters.

The data shows three out of every four thought they were "independent voters" not affiliated with any party. Mitchell says it was the group’s name that confused people.

"It is deceptive when you see vast numbers of registrants coming from people who are really just trying to register as independents,” said Mitchell.

Whats most startling, according to Mitchell, less than 4 percent of those polled even knew they were part of the AIP.  Their mistake could prevent them from voting in June.

Republicans have a closed primary. Only people registered as Republican can vote for a GOP candidate. But voters not affiliated with any party would be allowed to vote in the Democratic primary. All of the AIP voters, however, will be disqualified from that.

“We really want to clear up confusion. We feel we can only benefit from a wider public knowledge of our position,” said Mitchell.

Robinson doesn't buy the LA Times' numbers, calling them a liberal hit piece.

For those who would like to change their party affiliation, they have until May 23 to do so and still be eligible for the June primary.