Two years after Californians voted to scrap a party-by-party presidential primary they now get to choose whether to bring it back.
Gov. Pete Wilson on Monday signed a bill that places the measure on the Nov. 3 ballot. Changes to the primary must be approved by the Legislature, governor and voters.In 1996, voters gave themselves the right to back any candidate in the primary for a particular office, regardless of party affiliation.
But state Sen. John Lewis, the Republican author of the bill, said California's delegates to the Republican and Democratic conventions in 2000 could be denied seats if they're picked through an open primary. The bylaws of both parties prohibit selection of delegates by open primary.
"At that point, some other method would be concocted to pick delegates - caucuses, an endorsing convention or some kind of rule change," said Lewis.
Wilson said the party-by-party system will preserve a role for California voters in picking White House nominees.
The open primary was first used statewide last month, when voters picked nominees for governor, the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, Legislature and several other offices.