Senator Jones asks Governor to Veto Measure that Would Abolish the American Independent Party

SB 696 would force the third party’s leaders to change its name in less than 28 days or get kicked off the ballot

El Cajon – Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) today sent the following letter to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting a veto of Senate Bill 696, a measure by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana), which would abolish the American Independent Party (AIP) in California:

October 2, 2019

The Honorable Gavin Newsom
Governor of California
State Capitol
Sacramento, CA  95814

RE:  SB 696 – Request for Veto

Dear Governor Newsom:

I urge you to veto Senate Bill 696, a measure by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) that if signed, would give the leadership of the American Independent Party (AIP) until October 30 of this year (less than 28 days away) to come up with a brand new name for the political party they have called home for over 50 years in California.  If they don’t, the AIP will simply be eliminated.  There is nothing democratic about this measure.

Banning a political party’s chosen name, is a drastic remedy for what the sponsor alleges is the “ignorance of some voters.”  Voters who, by the way, if so mistaken in their registration can easily re-register up to, and including, the day of the election.  In fact, The California Democratic Party could simply amend its bylaws to allow AIP voters to choose a Democratic Party primary ballot as a solution to any “voter confusion.”

Since 1968, the American Independent Party has existed in California to offer voters a choice.  You and I may not agree with some of the political positions taken by the AIP, but that’s certainly no reason to compromise constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of association by enacting an “urgency” measure that would disenfranchise a particular party’s members. The only apparent urgency is a desire to alter the election results of the March 2020 primary.

California Democrat leaders arrogantly call themselves the “super-majority” and they have not been shy about using that power to change California election laws in their favor – from obstructing the on-going recall of a State Senator, to excluding certain Presidential candidates from the ballot, to forcing partisan redistricting commissions on certain counties, to allowing political operatives to harvest vote-by-mail ballots. Just how much continued, unfair advantage does the legislative super-majority need?

Again, I encourage you to veto Senate Bill 696.  Thank you for your consideration.


Brian W. Jones
Senator, District 38