Victory for Independents in California – and Across the Nation

Proposition 14 Victory Coalition Press Conference in Sacramento

The coalition that put Prop 14 on the ballot and won it on the ground spoke in celebration yesterday in Sacramento.

Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado said Prop 14 passing is a “game changer.” He said we need a government that is accountable to the people not the party bosses.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that this will take power away from the parties and put it in the hands of the people, which is what we wanted to do. He said we want to have “public servants not party servants” and that Prop 14 will help get rid of partisan gridlock.

David Pacheco of AARP said “This is a big deal!” He said Prop 14 will end party pandering to their narrow ideological bases, so that elected officials will be able to work together better and restore faith in our government.

Joyce Dattner, Chair of IndependentVoice.org, thanked Governor Schwarzenegger and Lt. Governor Maldonado for standing with the outsiders (the 3.4 million independents in California) to take on the party insiders. “This is a game changing coalition,” she said. [IndependentVoice.org's full statement is printed below.]

Allan Zaremberg, President/CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of California said that in yesterday’s primary, voter turnout was around 30% — and that vote, as in most primaries, determined most of this elections elected officials. “That’s not democracy,” he said. Prop 14 will allow a majority of voters to turn out in the primary.

Daniel Howle, California Independent Voter Project, said Prop 14 will level the playing field for independent voters. CIVP drafted the referendum and was prepared to petition to get it on the ballot.
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Statement by IndependentVoice.Org
Proposition 14 Victory Press Conference
Sacramento, CA
June 9, 2010
(Statement delivered by Joyce Dattner, Chair of IndependentVoice.Org, who appeared with Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado and Governor Schwarzenegger in Sacramento at the Proposition 14 Victory Press Conference. Press contact: Jason Olson 917-658-9885)

Today is California’s Independents Day!

Over two million voters cast a “Yes” vote for Proposition 14 and against partisan politics! As a result, the 3.4 million Decline to State independent voters will have equal access to our political process. At the rate voters are choosing to become independents here in California, we expect to be over the four million mark by our next election cycle.

Yesterday, the voters of California chose progressive political reform over status quo partisanship. Proposition 14 passed by the largest margin for a political reform initiative in more than a dozen years. The voters made a clear and decisive statement that the way to fix broken government is to expand democracy, contain the control exercised by political parties, and give greater power to the people. I want to thank the independent voters and organizations across the country that aided us in our fight to expand our democracy, most especially our national ally, IndependentVoting.org. Of course, I want to thank Governor Schwarzenegger and Lt. Governor Maldonado for standing with the outsiders to take on the party insiders. This is a game changing coalition.

Elected officials and candidates should take note: There is a new political force in California. I highly recommend you go to our website at IndependentVoice.Org and start reading up on the issues of interest to independent voters. For as diverse a group as we are, we’re unified behind the belief that we must democratize our political process so that the people – not the parties and special interests – determine the politics and policy of our state and our country. But don’t wait too long, because the next election will be here soon. And 3.4 million independents want to know where you stand on the independents’ political reform agenda.

Finally, a word about the national implications of Prop 14. California is a bell-weather state, and our victory for open primaries and progressive democratic reform here must be used to break the hold of partisanship everywhere in America. I want to extend a direct invitation to Governor Schwarzenegger, Lt. Gov. Maldonado and the rest of our coalition partners to join with us in extending this effort nationally. And a special message to our independent friends across the country who are fighting – as we speak – to achieve or to protect open primaries and non-partisan elections in Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Florida, Kentucky, South Carolina, and New York City: Help is on the way!

IndependentVoice.Org is a non-profit organizing California’s 3.4 million independent voters to change politics. IndependentVoice.Org is part of the national independent movement, and has been involved in fights for Open Primaries (Prop 14, Prop 62 in 2004) and Redistricting Reform (Prop 11 passed in 2008, Prop 77 in 2005, and the upcoming “Voters First Act” on the November 2010 ballot).
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In addition, Jackie Salit, President – IndependentVoting.org, issued the following statement on the passage of Prop 14:

“Yesterday, California voters decisively passed Proposition 14, which creates a nonpartisan primary system across the state. Though the political parties – major and minor – opposed the measure, the voters defied the partisan establishment and gave Prop 14 54% of the vote. This is the biggest margin for a political reform initiative in California in over a dozen years. And it means the state’s 3.4 million independents can participate in every round of voting. Congratulations California! Now it’s New York City’s turn. We’re saddled with a closed primary system that locks out nearly one million independent voters. The message of California is that it’s time to put political calculus aside, to put nonpartisans on the ballot, and to let the voters decide what kind of electoral system they want to have.”

Jackie Salit is the President of IndependentVoting.org, a national association of independent voters with organization in 40 states. In addition, she ran Mike Bloomberg’s ’01, ’05 and ’09 mayoral campaigns on the Independence Party line. Press contact: Sarah Lyons, 212-962-1824.

For more news analysis about passage of California’s Prop 14, see The Hankster

Author: Nancy Hanks

Provocateur/ pundit/ organizer Nancy Hanks is a long-time activist in the independent political movement who’s done it all: petitioning to put independent candidates on the ballot from New York to Texas and points east, west, north and south; fundraising for the independent think tank, the Committee for a Unified Independent Party (CUIP), and its online counterpart, IndependentVoting.org; running as an independent for New York City Council from Queens, New York City’s most diverse borough; serving as the current Treasurer of the Queens County Committee of the Independence Party of New York (of the IP NYC Organizations); conducting research for the Neo-Independent, a magazine that addresses the concerns of independent voters.

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