Voting Rights Are Primary Campaign: First pickets
   
Leaders across the country will hold Voting Rights Are Primary pickets in May and June.  This nationally coordinated campaign is designed to protest that independent voters are barred or restricted in nearly every state from full participation in the primary process.  
 
The first pickets will take place on May 6 in Ohio and North Carolina. Rick Robol and Cynthia Carpathios of Independent Ohio will be picketing in front of the Secretary of State's office from 10 am to 1 pm, and afterwards visiting legislators at the State Capitol across the street. Rick and Cynthia are urging everyone, even if they can't join the picket, to contact their legislators.  Dr. Omar Ali and North Carolina Independents will  visit a number of polling sites in the Greensboro area, and end with a march down Elm St. to the Woolworth building where the historic lunch counter sit-ins that helped bring national attention to the burgeoning civil rights movement, took place.  
Independent Pennsylvanians Protest Their Exclusion

 

Independent Pennslvanians wasted no time in notifying the press that they will be leading protests on primary day.  Jenn Bullock was interviewed by NPR affiliate WHYY about the Voting Rights are Primary campaign.  The interview came through the initiative of local activist Barbara Patrizzi. 

Listen/read the web version of the story here

 

Also, the Philadelphia Weekly did a story highlighting independents' exclusion from participating in the May 20 primary in "Group Banned From Voting to Highlight Unfair Electoral Practices."  In the article, Bullock says:  "I am one of over a million voters in PA who will help pay for the cost of holding these very important first round of elections, but I am banned from voting."

Chili, Chatter and Independent Politics: A Recipe for Success in Oregon 
 

Charles Young of Independent Voters of Oregon (IVOO) sent in this first-hand account of a meeting he organized at his home in Roseburg, Sunday, April 13 (see picture on left): 

 

[We met] "to discuss our efforts to organize a grassroots movement of citizens and community groups concerned with the bitter and polarizing partisanship of our two main parties, the growing income inequality in our nation, continued gerrymandering, and other issues where specific reform efforts by the collective voice of the people might be brought to bear.  Forty-two citizens came together, including people from our local League of Women Voters, from the Coalition for Good Governance, members of Umpqua Watersheds

 conservation group, faculty and students from our local community college, county librarians, and other individuals from a broad spectrum of the community. 

 

After a presentation as to why IVOO has formed, our linkage with the national independent voters organization, and the many other allied reform groups, such as End Partisanship, and considerable discussion and chili eating, there was strong positive feedback expressed by those attending in support of, among other structural political reforms, nonpartisan primaries and nonpartisan redistricting.  Specifically, a grassroots movement for  a

citizens' initiative to open the Oregon Primary was highlighted.  We left promising to meet again (and with much exchange of crockpot chili recipes).

 

Southern Activists Coming Together 
  

Saadiq Muhammad of Arkansas and Dr. Omar Ali of North Carolina hosted the first Southern Regional call and were joined by 11 independents from 5 southern states.  They used the occasion to have activists introduce themselves and get to know each other. "The meeting was wonderful!" said Ali.  "Saadiq and I discussed beforehand what we wanted to do on the call. People spoke eloquently about why they were independent."

 The next call will be Sunday, May 18th at 5:30 pm ET.  For more info, contact Saadiq at gazellelion@gmail.com or Omar at ohali@uncg.edu.

 

Good News In Arizona

 

Great news for Arizonans and all supporters of open primaries!  The Arizona Daily Sun reports on former Phoenix Mayor Paul Johnson's intention to launch another attempt to establish top two nonpartisan primaries in Arizona in the article "Organizer Ready to Try Again for Open Primaries."  Read it here.

San Diego Fundraising Event For EndPartisanship.org

 

The Independent Voter Project is hosting a launch/fundraising event on May 12 in San Diego to raise money for EndPartisanship.org.  The invitation reads:  "You are invited to attend the launch of the first legal strategy to assert that every voter should have an equal and meaningful vote at every stage of the state-funded election process, regardless of their party affiliation or non-affiliation."  The fundraiser will be held in San Diego at the law firm of Thorsnes, Bartalotta, McGuire LLP.  Click here for tickets and more information.  

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Contact
Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach
IndependentVoting.org

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