October 16, 2014

The Yes on 90 campaign coalition at the Oct. 4th Equal Vote Conference. From left to right: Jim Kelly, Chief Petitioner; John Opdycke, Open Primaries; Dave Ellis, co-founder IVOO; Sarah Lyons, IndependentVoting.org; Barbara Dudley, Working Families Party; Steve Hughes, Working Families Party; Jackie Salit, IndependentVoting.org; Mark Frohnmayer, Equal Vote Coalition; Chuck Young, co-founder IVOO, Freddy Gompf, IVOO, Alex Ivey, IVOO.
Last week, IndependentVoting.org's President Jackie Salit traveled to Oregon to support independents' 
efforts to pass Ballot Measure 90, the top two initiative.  In Roseburg, 
Salit joined  Independent Voters of Oregon ("IVOO") spokesperson, Bentley Gilbert on KQEN radio's "Inside Douglas County."  Listen to the Podcast of the show here.  

Later, she joined IVOO co-founder Chuck Young at a potluck gathering at his home where a discussion about how to fix our broken democracy was the main course. 

At the potluck, several of IVOO  board members took time out to videotape testimonials of why they support Oregon's Yes on 90 measure.  
Watch this video testimonial by Delores Spencer who owned a popular restaurant in Roseburg called "Ds Magnolia."
Salit then traveled to Eugene to speak at the Equal Vote Conference sponsored by Mark Frohnmayer, a drafter of Ballot Measure 90.  The conference, held at University of Oregon's Law School, drew policy experts, elected officials and democracy advocates from around the country and was written up in the Register GuardRead this article.

The Equal Vote Coalition has teamed up with Open Primaries Inc. and put a Democracy Van on a 14 day tour of Oregon college campuses to spread the "Yes on 90" message.  Watch the promotional video about the tour here

The Oregon ACLU has backed away from a prior decision to oppose Ballot Measure 90 and now has officially taken a neutral position.  The ACLU of Oregon Board of Directors originally decided to oppose Measure 90 and presented their rationale in their Fall newsletter.  The decision provoked some members to push for a reconsideration which led the organization to reexamine its position and acknowledge that there are two legitimate sets of civil liberties interests at stake: meaningful access to the ballot for minority party and independent candidates and voters, AND the right of association for political parties. The report says: "Because of the competing civil liberties interests raised by the top-two primary, the ACLU of Oregon is neutral on the measure and encourages voters to carefully examine arguments on both sides in order to make an informed decision as to their vote."

Read the ACLU Report here. 


Similarly, Common Cause voted to remain neutral on the measure, issuing an in-depth report by Oregon Common Cause Executive Director Janet Thompson to provide impartial analysis to help voters better understand the measure. Read the Common Cause Report here.

Panel Discussion about "Moving Beyond Partisanship"
Independent Ohio and the Oberlin League of Women Voters co-sponsored 
a panel discussion at Lorain County Community College entitled "Moving Beyond Partisanship."  Panelists included Catherine Turcer (policy analyst for Common Cause Ohio); David Cherry (founder United Independents of Illinois); Lynda Mayer (Vice President and Program Chair of the newly merged League of Women Voters of Greater Cleveland); Warren Edstrom (co-founder of TheVoicesOfAmerica.org); and Jeff Riddell (Citizens for Equal Representation Committee for a proposed change to Lorain County government). Sue Doup (far right in photo), a leader of Independent Ohio was a driving force behind putting the event together. Commented Cynthia Carpathios, co-founder of Independent Ohio,  "Putting together this event really brought forth a collective effort from Independent Ohioans.  Our folks made phone calls, gave donations, did all kinds of things we haven't done before to produce this event. It was moving to see us come together as a team.  The panel discussion was a serious, respectful, broad and inclusive dialogue.  People really listened to each other and were able to allow exploration of issues rather than jumping to a quick conclusion to a 'right' answer.  We are happy to be part of a greater, national dialogue on moving beyond partisanship."

LaMar Mack, Virginia

LaMar Mack recently decided to help build Virginia Independent Voters Association (VIVA), an organization of independent voters in Virginia.  LaMar is a native of Mansfield Ohio, now residing in Northern Virginia outside of the nation's Capital.  He has a diverse background in the private sector and as a business owner and is currently the Principle behind LA Mack & Associates LLC. He has worked on various voter registration drives and at the polling places to validate a proper voting count.


"I became an independent about 20 years ago when I started paying attention to what politicians "do" versus what they "say" they will do and "why" they did it," said LaMar. "If one looks past the talking points and attack ads, it is hard "not" to conclude you need to be an independent voter... In the preface to the Core Values and Mission Statement (a document written by IndependentVoting.org's election reform committee) Jackie Salit mirrored my philosophy toward the independent movement.  She said:  'The outcome we seek is a vigorous and nonpartisan democracy which allows the American people to own the electoral process.'  That statement resonates with me.  I want to help to create alliances and innovative tools that inform, and engage people to become independent & involved."

Catana at conference

Independent Voters of Nevada President Catana Barnes met with David Bobzien (D), a legislator in the Reno area.  Barnes briefed Bobzien on the top-two nonpartisan primary movement that's sweeping the West Coast and asked for his support in helping to bring open primaries to Nevada. The Assemblyman expressed interest in learning more and asked Barnes if she could provide him with the mechanics of how the top-two works in CA. Barnes stressed that there are currently about 287,538 independents (nonpartisans) in Nevada who are currently locked out of the process and that the number of independents has been increasing steadily for the past five years. 

Please join 
IndependentVoting.org's President Jackie Salit 
for the next national conference call

Independent Post-Election Roundup:  
Who Won, Who Lost, Who's Growing

Thursday, November 6
8pm  ET
(7pm CT, 6pm MT, 5pm PT)
Tune in to hear a timely post-election day report from IndependentVoting.org's president and a look ahead on exciting new developments in our movement!

Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach


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