On August 27, California AB 477 passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, and will probably receive a vote on the Senate floor soon. The original bill that had passed the Assembly on May 14 only dealt with procedures concerning voters who vote by mail and who forget to sign the outer envelope. The original bill had nothing to do with the Green Party.
On July 1, the bill was amended in the Senate to add Green Party primary rules to the election code. California is the only state in which the internal rules governing particular qualified parties are included in the election code. In the 1950’s, code sections for particular parties were created, but they didn’t name any particular parties. There were just rules for parties above a certain number of registered voters, and rules for parties below a certain number of registrants. One set of rules was intended for the Democratic Party, and the other set of rules was intended for the smaller Republican Party and the much smaller Prohibition Party, at the time the only other qualified party.
But that system didn’t work very well, because as California grew, the number of registered Republicans grew also, and the Republican Party, having gained so many registrants that it crossed the threshold meant to separate its code section from the Democratic section, would suddenly be required to operate under the rules meant for the Democratic Party, creating chaos for the Republican Party. Finally the legislature decided to delete the number of registered voters separating the categories, and instead passed sections specifically named “Democratic Party rules” and “Republican Party rules.”
In 1975 the legislature added code sections for the American Independent and the Peace & Freedom Parties, which had been been ballot-qualified starting in 1968. The Libertarian Party qualified in 1980 but the legislature defeated a bill to set up Libertarian Party rules, so the Libertarian Party operates under the Peace & Freedom rules. Later the Green, Natural Law, Reform, and Americans Elect Parties qualified, but the legislature didn’t add procedures for them either, so they used the Peace & Freedom rules (Natural Law, Reform, and Americans Elect are no longer qualified). For many years the Green Party has been trying to get its own preferred rules into the election code, and now it is finally likely to succeed. Thanks to Chad Peace for making me aware of AB 477.