January 15, 2015

The January 2015 Gallup Poll reported that the number of Americans who Identify as politically independent is up another notch to 43%.  More and more people are seeing that our political structure is unable to attend to the growing crisis and issues of the day.

Read details here.



Following Senator Chuck Schumer's op ed in the New York Times in which he calls for the formation of a national movement to bring top two nonpartisan  

primaries to all states in the country, the New York Independence Party Clubs began a petition and lobbying campaign. The campaign is two-tiered. Dr. Jessie Fields is leading a grassroots petition drive to collect 5,000 signatures on an open letter calling on Senator Schumer to "help make Top Two nonpartisan primaries a reality here in New York State." They have collected over 1,000 signatures so far across the five boroughs.


Read the letter here. 


Cathy Stewart, Congressman Meeks, Alvaader Frazier, David Belmont
Alvaader Frazier, Esq. and David Belmont are leading a congressional outreach campaign to the members of the New York City Congressional delegation, to brief them on the developing movement for nonpartisan reform and to ask for their support for Congressman Delaney's  Open Our Democracy Act. Frazier, Belmont, Jo Coskie and New York City IP Coordinator Cathy Stewart have met with Congressmen Gregory Meeks and Joseph Crowley, and with Congresswoman Grace Meng's District Director.  In each instance, there was an engaged hour-long dialogue about open primaries, and the Delaney bill which calls for three reforms: top two nonpartisan elections for Congress, making election day a federal holiday and the creation of a commission to evaluate national standards for nonpartisan redistricting. The Schumer editorial and the Delaney package open up the door for independent activists across the country to follow suit and pursue support for nonpartisan reform.  



Gwen Ballard of the Coalition for Independent Voters in Colorado (CIVIC) wrote a letter to the editor in response to two articles she saw in the Denver Post. The articles, "Imagine a Mail-in Presidential Primary in Colorado" and "For 2016, Bring Back Colorado's Presidential Primary," focus on a statewide dialogue that's emerging to reform Colorado's election process.  Ballard wrote a letter to the editor in response.  In it, she highlights the importance of opening the process to all voters by saying:  "Since we agree on the goal of encouraging participation, why not allow the citizens to vote on whether to allow open primaries, instead of leaving it to the partisans who populate the legislature?"

Patrick Sullivan, Colorado

Patrick is a respiratory therapist and sleep technologist at a private sleep clinic in Denver. He is a regular volunteer with Project Angel Heart and has participated in several electoral campaigns, is an avid snowshoer, reader of history and chef. Patrick reached out to IndependentVoting.org in November and we introduced him to Gwen Ballard.  They are now working to amplify the independent voice in Colorado.

"I knew I was an independent when it finally struck me that most of the federal policies I dislike seem to continue no matter who gets elected. The fact that we have private primary elections just proves someone set it up that way without asking the voters' permission first. That's a good enough reason to change it."


The Montana Republican Party continues its attempts to close the Republican Party primaries. Read more here.

Last year the Utah Legislature altered primary election laws to give party and, to some extent, non-party voters a little more influence over the process. (The law includes a provision that would allow independents to vote in the primary.)  The Democrats are now expressing tepid support while there is an ambiguous rift in the Republican party. Said Randy Miller, chair of Utah League of Independent Voters (ULIV): "Perhaps it is just a bad cop/good cop routine. Some legislators are threatening to get back to square one and the state GOP has filed a lawsuit to kill off the portions of the bill they don't like (or doesn't give them absolute control)."


And from The Day, out of Connecticut: Time for Parties to Embrace Unaffiliated. "It's taken a while but in December, Connecticut's major political parties began to show signs they were finally becoming aware that the political landscape has been changing since about the middle of the last century...." Read the full article here.  


Tuesday. January 27 8pm ET:  IndependentVoting.org's national conference call, hosted by Jackie Salit. Learn more about the latest developments in our movement and join us on the road to IndependentVoting.org's national conference.  Click here to register.
February 15, 7pm EST: Join the Politics for the People Book Club for their first selection of the New Year:  I am Abraham:  A Novel of Lincoln and the Civil War, by Jerome Charyn.  Read the book, check out the lively discussion on the blog and join the conference call with Cathy Stewart and Jerome Charyn on February 15.  Click here to register.

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Saturday, March 14: IndependentVoting.org's full-day National Conference of Independents in New York City. Read letter of invitation and register for the conference here.
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Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach
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