Top Two on the ballot in Oregon

Oregon voters will have the opportunity to vote for top two nonpartisan open primaries this fall as the 
Oregon Open Primary initiative officially qualified for the ballot, submitting over 140,000 petition signatures to do so. 

Mark Frohnmayer, author of the Unified Primary initiative which fell short of the signature requirement, quickly threw his support behind the top two measure. "The aspiration for equality in the vote has been with us since before the beginning of our country. And we have a chance, right now, here in Oregon, to make that aspiration real."

Charles Young, founder of the Independent Voters of Oregon and professor of Government and History at Umpqua Community College, is mobilizing independent activists to support the initiative.

Follow its progress on
Facebook and contact Charles at to get involved.
The Voting Rights Are Primary Campaign Continues



Eighteen states will hold primaries in August and September.  If your state is one of them, please join Sarah Lyons and Nancy Ross on a Voting Rights Are Primary campaign conference call to strategize about how to make independents in your state visible at a time when we are most invisible.     


Wednesday, July 30

Call: 805-399-1200  

Access code:  767775#


Steve Hough of Panama City, FL ("Independent Voters Should Be Heard") and Natesha Oliver of Kansas City, Missouri ("Independent Voters Given Short Shrift") had their letters to the editor published as a buildup to primary day protests in their state. 



Utah League of Independent Voter's Randy Miller led a lively informational picket while broadcasting the cause of independents through the pages of the Salt Lake Tribune which gave top billing to his letter to the editor  "2014 is the Year of the Independent Voter in Utah." 


In Maryland, Dona Sauerberger, Stephen Sauerberger and Stephen Johnson held a picket in front of the Annapolis public library. The Sentinel newspaper picked up on the story and turned to Dona for a quote while  Brian Needelman, professor of Environmental Sciences at University of Maryland, posted  this letter to the editor in the Capitol Gazette.  


Harlem physician Dr. Jessie Fields organized 50 independents to join her on the streets of Harlem and the South Bronx. The team polled over 250 residents testing public awareness about independents' lack of voting rights. Her op ed, co-authored with Independence Party Bronx Chair Nardo Reyes, was picked up by Black Star News  "How New York's Election Law Prevents Millions from Voting in the Primary." 




Independents in New Jersey are Getting Organized

Mary Johnson (Right)
Independent activists Mark Balsam
Charles Donahue (Right)
 (Bergen), Charles Donahue (Teaneck) and Mary Johnson (Westfield)  have formed a new organization -  New Jersey Independent Voters
Balsam and Donahue are both plaintiffs in the suit which challenges the state of New Jersey for funding primaries in which independents are excluded. Donahue and Johnson participated in Voting Rights Are Primary pickets on primary day.

Independents Respond to Bipartisan Commission Report
The Bipartisan Policy Center Commission on Political Reform issued a report last month titled "Governing in a Polarized America: Bipartisan Blueprint to Strengthen Our Democracy.'s national election committee headed up by Steve Richardson reviewed the 62 page white paper and offered the following observations:  
"Independent voters welcome the opportunity afforded by the recent publication of Governing in a Polarized America: A Bipartisan Blueprint to Strengthen our Democracy to begin a serious conversation about the damage partisan politics is doing to our republic.  The report ... acknowledges declining participation in U.S. elections, increasing erosion of civil discourse, and paralysis of Congress. And unlike the President's Commission on Election Administration, which published its report earlier this year, this Commission faced up to the fact that Americans are concerned about far more than how their votes are cast and counted.... However, by consistently maintaining a partisan view, it misdiagnoses problems and offers self-serving solutions."


Author of The Swing Vote Linda Killian weighed in on the report also in "Why Bipartisan Reforms Won't Fix Politics."  


Media of Note
NY State Senator Charles Schumer came out in support of top two primaries this week in an op ed dramatically titled "End Partisan Primaries, Save America." "Many independents and insurgents have been championing this reform for years," said president Jackie Salit.  "But we've been largely rebuffed by the political establishment, who prefer to protect the parties at the expense of a healthy democracy. Now Senator Schumer has stepped out of that shadow."  
In a New York Times Op Ed entitled "Declaration of Independents," Timothy Egan, says this:  "The fastest-growing, most open-minded and least-partisan group of voters will have no say. That's right: The independents, on this Independence Day, have never been more numerous. But they've never been more shut out of power."   
And a featured article in the Albuquerque Journal, "Rejecting Party Labels" substantiates the evidence that more young people in New Mexico are becoming independent than joining a party (38% between 18-24 are independent). 
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Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach

225 Broadway Suite 2010
New York, NY 10007
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