Independent Voters Want to Know: Can I Vote in the Primary?

There are only 2 more primaries left before the November general elections. And how have those primaries been going?

Well, for many independents, they haven’t.

According to OpenPrimaries.org:

“In 2008, there were 33 open primary states in which independent voters could participate in the presidential primaries and caucuses. In these states, 2.7 million independents voted for Barack Obama, giving him the margin of victory to secure the Democratic Party nomination. “

Randy Miller - Davis County UTAH Surveyor

The other states require partisan registration in order to vote in a party primary. The following states have closed primaries:
Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Wyoming.

See FairVote to see where you stand…

Why is this important? Well, at a moment in our country when there are increasing numbers of independent voters (now somewhere between 37 and 43%), closed primaries skews elections toward party loyalists, giving more weight to these voters, who in fact by definition are unrepresentative of the electorate as a whole.

While most of the official talk about polarization of voters has to do with a left/right divide or a Dem/Repub split (with some kind of solution being “centrist” or “moderate” policy, candidates, etc.), what’s going on between the lines is a rift between party bosses and their and prime voters and — everybody else. It’s well known that many voters register with a party just to be able to vote in the primary, not because they agree with or support that party’s platform or candidates.

Traffic on The Hankster went through the roof yesterday after I posted a number of “I’m an Independent Voter – Can I Vote in the Primary in [state]?” posts answering the question for New York, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

For more news for independents, see The Hankster.

UPDATED 9/16/10 Randy Miller is running for Davis County Surveyor in Utah (not Colorado) — sorry, Randy!

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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