January 7, 2016  

National Conference Call Highlights 
Aldofo Carrion and Jackie Salit
One hundred and eighty independents from 40 states participated in IndependentVoting.org 's year-end
Q & A  national conference call with Jackie Salit addressing presidential politics and the way forward for independents. Yours truly and Cynthia Carpathios, President of Independent Ohio and leader of the Midwest region, moderated the call, presenting an amalgam of hundreds of questions from around the country.
"I want to thank everyone for the questions," began  Salit. "T hey were very helpful and encouraging to read.  Not just for the content of the questions, but for the spirit of the questions.  The spirit was 'We - this community of independents - feel a deep sense of responsibility for our country and for what's going on.'  That was very inspiring and motivating to me."  

Later in the conversation, Salit made this point about our movement: 

"I think unification and alliances and partnerships that cross ideological lines, that cross partisan lines, that cross geographic, historical and cross cultural lines, is not just on the agenda.  It is happening.  And I think it is happening not under the rubric of the Democrats and Republicans, surely.  And not even under the rubric of alternative parties.  It is happening under the umbrella of diverse Americans coming together with the leadership of independents to change the structure, the rules of the game, and the culture of the way we do politics.  I am enormously optimistic about that."   
Below is a sample of the questions.  
"There seems to be a lot of support among voters for anti-establishment candidates i.e. - Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson etc. What do you see as the significance of this? How do you see them being able to use their position to advance the cause of independent voters-- or independents being able to use their candidacies to advance our cause?" Listen here to the answer

" What leadership can the independent political movement provide to the American people during the presidential election in this time of conflict, violence and terrorism both in the United States and around the world? Also, is there a Perot moment for independents in 2016? Finally, what are your thoughts on endorsing a candidate next year?" Listen here to the answer

"Is there a way to get the candidates to go on record on the Delaney bill? Also, in Iowa and New Hampshire activists are looking for ways to amplify independents' voice in these states that are influential in the early stages of the presidential race, and want to know if you have a strategy for making our presence known there within that context. Others want to know whether it would be helpful to support more independent candidates, and build local independent political clubs across the country, or to run independents in the major parties as the Tea Party has. I hear in all these questions people grappling with what there is do at this moment. Can you speak to some of these ways that our activists are looking to build the movement?"   Listen here to the answer

Next Spokesperson Training call
The release of the groundbreaking report commissioned by the Citizen's Clean Election Commission and published by Arizona State University's Morrison Institute titled " Who is the Independent Voter?"  presents an exciting opportunity for independent activists.  

IndependentVoting.org's Director of Communications Sarah Lyons will devote the next spokesperson training call to bringing activists up to speed on the report.  She'll provide valuable training on how to build off of its findings and advance the conversation about who independents are, what we want and what we are doing.  
Learn how to reach out to history, journalism and political science departments at local universities and colleges and advocate for a similar study in your area!
Sunday, January 24  7pm ET
Independents to the Parties: Let us in!
With the Presidential primary debates in full throttle, independents are urging that  all presidential primaries be open to independent voters.

In the seven televised debates so far (four Republican, three Democrat), no mention has been made of the exclusion of independents from this critical stage of the election process. There are fifteen states with closed presidential primaries or caucuses, an additional six states closed in the Republican primaries and caucuses and eleven states where independents can vote but they must join a party in order to do so.  
At the most recent Democratic Party debate in New Hampshire on December 19, at least 50 independents responded
Independent Voters for Arizona went door-to-door in Prescott with a letter to the chairs of the Democratic and Republican Parties, and met voters like Michael Bevier (above), one of more than 1.2 million in the state who currently can't vote in the primary elections because they are independent voters. 
to an overnight request from New Hampshire Independent Voter's Tiani Coleman to help lobby FOX News debate moderator David Muir. We presented him with the following question:  
"Gallup reports that 45% of Americans consider themselves independents, making them the largest community of voters in the country. Yet in many states independents are not allowed to vote in the presidential primary. Some have called this the most egregious form of voter suppression taking place in the country today.  In New Hampshire, independents are 43% of voters and can vote in the presidential primary by temporarily joining a party and then re-registering as an independent before leaving the polling site. Will you call on the national Democratic Party to support the full voting rights of independents - whose taxpayer dollars help fund these primary elections - to open its primaries nationwide?"

On the last national conference call, Jackie Salit said: "I really want to encourage folks from those states to generate some more bottom-up heat on the parties relative to the 2016 presidential campaign that makes clear to them that there are 43% of the people in the country who are independents.  We want a system that is inclusive and fair to us and we want a culture change in the way the primaries are conducted."   

Here are the next scheduled major debates.  Let's continue the pressure by emailing a question to the debate moderators at the addresses below.

Sunday, January 14, 2016 

Fox Business Republican Debate 9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT)

LocationNorth Charleston Coliseum, South Carolina

Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo

Sunday, January 17, 2016
NBC News Democratic Primary Debate   9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT)
Location:  Charleston, South Carolina
Moderator:  Lester Holt
Email your note to:  lester.holt@nbcuni.com

Thursday, January 28, 2016
Fox News Republican Debate   9pm ET (8pm CT, 6pm PT)
Location: Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa
Moderators: Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace
Email your note to:
Election Reform Committee Creates Candidate Questionnaire
Rick Robol
Catana Barnes
The Election Reform Committee of IndependentVoting.org comprised of Rick Robol (Ohio), Catana Barnes (NV), Steve Richardson (VA) and Joe Pickering (ME) have created a candidate questionnaire.  " We want to help local chapters identify potential partners in the building of the broader reform movement and to educate candidates about the concerns of independents," said Robol.
From the preamble:  
Steve Richardson
Joe Pickering
" Independent a ctivists around the country are working to change the culture of American politics  by disrupting the incentives and structures that maintain
 politics as usual. With this in mind, we invite you to respond to the concerns of independent voters, concerns that are deeply important to us and rarely if ever addressed in our current political system."  
If you are an activist, and would like some guidance as to how to use the questionnaire in your local area, contact the Election Reform Committee through Rick Robol at rrobol@robollaw.com.  
New Mexico Update

Former state legislator Bob Perls, who became an independent last year, has been spearheading the charge to give all voters equal voting rights.  There are close to 300,000 independents in New Mexico who cannot vote in the primaries because New Mexico is a closed primary state.
Bob  has done over 20 media interviews or op-ed pieces for New Mexico newspapers since New Mexico Open Primaries (NMOP) was launched by Bob in May of last year.   NMOP's Board decided on a format where supporters hold house parties during which Bob speaks, answers questions and enlists volunteers while seeking donations.  A fellow Board member, Sarah Cobb, is the volunteer coordinator and attends each house party with Bob to answer questions, write down everyone's contact information and hand out brochures (which can be viewed on the NMOP web site ).   Said Perls, " NMOP has a two page summary of how to hold a house party and Sarah is in constant contact with the hosts to make sure they understand how to ensure high attendance, why we want a diverse group of attendees and generally to calm fears leading up to the event.  We average 10-20 attendees per event ."

the official spokesperson for the organization, has averaged one-two public outreach events per week at organizations such as Rotary clubs, League of Women Voter meetings, charter school events, etc. These outreaches are educational in nature and help get the word out regarding the mission and goals of the organization.  NMOP has created a short Powerpoint presentation that Bob uses for select audiences and it can be viewed on the NMOP web site as well.
The group has found a possible sponsor to carry the New Mexico open primaries constitutional amendment during the January 2016 legislative session and Bob has been meeting with legislators throughout the state lining up support.  NMOP is also supporting an amendment to mandate an independent re-districting commission, and is part of a coalition that includes Common Cause and the League of Women voters. Both groups support open primaries in New Mexico. 
A Profile in Independence:
Francine Wright, Washington, D.C.

Francine Wright is an administrative assistant at the Department of Employment in Washington, D.C. She found the IndependentVoting.org website in 2014 and has attended a number of national conference calls.

Said Francine: " At the age of 18 I was a registered Republican.  I did not know much about being a Republican, other than I lived in Montgomery County in Pennsylvania, and was told we are registered Republicans because that's where the money is.  If I needed help with things I was told 'contact Republicans.'  Low and behold it was true.  After graduating from high school I contacted Arlen Spector, who was a Congressman then.  Congressman Spector helped me get a grant to attend community college.  I was born a Republican.
"Later on in life I found many of the Democrat presidential candidates to be favorable.  I changed to Democrat and back to Republican. Today, I'm a registered Independent.  I'm an Independent because I should have freedom to vote for anyone I choose.

"The 15th Amendment of the Constitution says it all.  'The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.'  Not allowing the Independent to vote in the primary election is a violation of the Constitution."
In the News
  • "Everyone Should Be Able to Vote," one of a number of letters to the editor written as part of Independent Voters of Arizona's local effort to pressure the parties to open their elections to independents, published in the local Tucson press.
  • Kim Ames-Wright, formerly of South Dakota, wrote "Voters are Sending a Message to Legislators" which appeared in the Rapid City Journal and focused on the political reform measures that will appear on this year's ballot.

Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach
Give us a call today!