July 3,  2015

Salit headshot Join IndependentVoting.org President,  Jackie Salit as she interviews Rep. John Delaney, the author of the Open Our Democ racy Act on a special national conference call Wednesday evening July 15th.

Rep. Delaney introduced H.R. 2655,  which  would allow independents to vote in nonpartisan open primaries for all U.S. House and U.S . Senate seats, initiate redistricting reform and make Election Day a holiday.

When:  Wednesday evening, July 15
Time:   Tentatively 7pm ET
(Time to be confirmed)

Kim Wright

An anti-democratic, anti-independent bill passed by the South Dakota legislature last March has been stopped in its tracks and will now go before the voters in November of 2016, thanks to a successful petitioning drive.   


SD 69 prohibited voters registered with a party from signing a ballot access petition for an independent candidate.  IndependentVoting.org began contacting its members and allied organizations nationally after its passage, mobilizing them to support the petitioning drive to overturn the bill via referendum.


"Legislatures are being held accountable in new ways," said IndependentVoting.org President Jackie Salit. "In South Dakota, the politicians passed an anti-democratic measure and the people responded with Referred Law 19. This comes right on the heels of the Supreme Court decision upholding the right of Arizona voters to bypass their legislature to set up an independent redistricting commission. The message here is simple, but powerful. To have the support and trust of the voters, legislatures must act in the people's interests, not party interests."

"We celebrate this victory," added Kim Wright, founder of South Dakota Independent Voice "and the opportunity to continue our efforts toward a fair and inclusive democratic election process in South Dakota."   Full press release here
KOB TV reporter Stuart Dyson was back again on the independent beat reporting this week that "The grassroots drive to open New Mexico's primary elections to independent voters is gaining momentum with the formation of a new group dedicated to challenging the closed system."   
The chief organizer of the new group, New Mexico Open Primaries, former state lawmaker Bob Perls took a big step Thursday afternoon in his political life,  changing his voter registration from Democrat to Independent.   KOB TV covered the story. 
Perls, who founded the group after attending IndependentVoting.org's national conference, wasted no time in getting the organization up and running; holding two meetings, electing a board and developing the platform.  He also appeared as a panelist at a local political discussion group entitled " Is the Media Ignoring Independent Voters, Major Party Platforms or Both?" 
Bob Perls (standing).
Photo by Mark G. Bralley of Conspiracy 
Eddy Aragon, owner of the KIBQ Rock of Talk radio station was at the meeting and invited Bob to join him on air. "I was thrilled to meet him," said Aragon.  "He inadvertently took over the event because he was smart, he was clear and he was talking about some really common-sensical approaches to politics." Listen to the radio interview here
Perls  was also interviewed for Joe Monahan's prominent New Mexico blog (6/24) and for the  Corrales Comment.
"The political process is broken," said Perls.  "That's old news.  What I've come to see is the breadth of support for a new way of doing politics.  Independents are coming together to end the partisanship that is destroying our country."

Tisha Le Rose, founder of New Mexico Independent Voters said: "
As a longtime advocate for open primaries and a builder of the independent movement, I'm happy about the recent attention our movement is getting here in New Mexico. That a former elected official with Bob's experience and foresight is joining our cause, is clearly a sign that we are making headway. I look forward to working with him to make sure that all New Mexicans have a voice in our political process and our future."  
Dona Sauerburger, Maryland

Dona Sauerburger is an Orientation and Mobility Specialist, providing services to blind and visually impaired adults and teenagers, and is the author of a manual for practitioners working with Deaf-Blind adults.   

An activist in No Labels and the League of Women Voters, Dona was interested in addressing the dysfunction of the political process. After receiving a call from a volunteer at IndependentVoting.org, she attended the 2013 National Conference of Independents and immediately changed her registration to independent. Dona attended the 2015 National Conference of Independents as well.  When IndependentVoting.org launched its Voting Rights Are Primary campaign last year, Dona was on the front lines, polling and speaking with voters in Annapolis.

This week Dona received a "panicked" message from her local Democratic Party chapter.  "URGENT: DEMOCRATIC MAJORITY MAKER ALERT FOR DONA SAUERBERGER:... All eyes will be on our FEC report to see if we're able to defend Democrats in the tightest races around the country."

The partisanship of the message spurred Dona to action. 
Here's Dona's passionate response:

"For goodness sake, your message confirmed why our government is so dysfunctional and why I, as a lifelong Democrat who has voted consistently Democratic, became disgusted with both parties and their insatiable need for power which overrides their responsibility to govern our country effectively, and became an Independent working to put the decision-making back into the hands of the people instead of the parties."
Bravo, Dona!
In the News

IndependentVoting.org President Jackie Salit had a hard hitting message for presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in her Arizona Republic opinion piece: "If you are not prepared to challenge your own party to fight for voter freedom for all the American people, then you shouldn't be president."   Read Jackie's op ed here.

Open Primaries President John Opdycke had an  editorial in the Contra Costa Times on the recent special election in California's Bay area . Opdycke says, "Under Top Two, California politics is becoming less predictable, less controlled and less exclusionary. The old approaches (which involved much dividing and much conquering) are not as effective as they used to be at manipulating the electorate."   Read more here.

Independent Redistricting Panel Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court Great news for independents!  The U.S. Supreme Court bolstered efforts to make federal elections more competitive, upholding an independent redistricting commission created by Arizona voters via initiative.  Bloomberg Politics had the story here .

Tio Hardiman, founder of Violence Interrupters of Chicago and participant in the Democracy and Social Crisis panel at the 2015 National Conference of Independents has been sharing video highlights of the conference with his network of 10,000 and receiving lots of positive feedback:  "I'm really happy to see that some people do not buy into the big money concept to win a political office," one supporter told him. "It's really good people are standing up addressing issues;" and "It's time for all of the independent voters to make some serious noise across the United States," commented others.
Check out the latest video highlights of the 2015 National Conference of Independents, produced by Sarah Lyons, IndependentVoting.org's Communications Director. This one is titled "Lets Talk about Democracy and Social Crisis."
Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach
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