August 21, 2014

OREGON: GUEST OPINION BY JACKIE SALIT & PAUL JOHNSON 

"With Ballot Measure 90, Oregonians can challenge the exclusion of over one third of the state's voters while, at the same time, fight rising partisanship in the Congress, and increasingly in our country. E pluribus unum, the concept of "Out of many, one," is being made meaningless by the partisan divide." These are the opening words of a new opinion piece authored by IndependentVoting.org's President Jackie Salit and Paul Johnson, former Mayor of Phoenix, who led the effort to bring about a nonpartisan open primary to Arizona in 2012.  The piece, published in The Oregonian, is titled  "Why the Oregon Open-Primary Measure is an Important Part of the National Movement."  Read the complete editorial here.


IVOO GETS IN GEAR 

Roseburg Board members of Independent Voters of Oregon (IVOO) met at the home of IVOO founder and Umpqua Community College professor Chuck Young and laid out plans to support Measure 90. The group welcomed IndependentVoting.org Director of Communications Sarah Lyons, a native of the state who is in Oregon to help independents wield their influence on the Vote Yes on 90 campaign. The Committee put together a plan involving setting up tables in front of the Walmart, requesting an editorial board meeting with the News & Reviewand creating a campus presence.  Stay tuned as the IVOO campaign gets rolling!   

THE MASSACHUSETTS/NEW HAMPSHIRE CONNECTION

Activists from the Massachusetts Coalition of Independent Voters traveled to New Hampshire to help jump start an independent voter organizing drive in Bedford.  Evelyn Dougherty, Diane Whitehouse and Lowell Ward from Boston headed north at the request of Tiani Coleman and Sue Erickson, founders of New Hampshire Independent Voters.  Said Tiani, "Nearly every one of the independent voters we surveyed were positive about nonpartisan primaries, and 10 gave us their contact information and wanted to get more information.  Even though it was just a drop in the bucket of work that needs to be done, it was very encouraging to see that it just takes outreach and education, and most people are supportive." Tiani and Sue want to build momentum between now and primary day, September 9, when they will be conducting a Voting Rights Are Primary picket. 

 


INDEPENDENT POLITICS IN THE HEART OF HARLEM

Harlem Week is an iconic music and cultural festival held every year in Harlem USA.  This year, twenty independent activists set up a booth to collect signatures on an open letter to Senator Charles Schumer, who recently editorialized in support of a Top Two primary system.  The team was led by Alvaader Frazier and Dr. Jessie Fields and joined by Dr. Lenora Fulani.  Dr. Fields said "We met hundreds of independents at Harlem Week and collected 175 signatures on the open letter which applauds the senator's support for nonpartisan primary reform and asks him to help make Top Two nonpartisan primaries a reality in New York State." 


JUDGE DISMISSES NEW JERSEY ENDPARTISANSHIP SUIT

U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Chesler, issued a ruling which dismissed the groundbreaking suit that challenged the constitutionality of New Jersey's closed primary system.  Judge Chesler was either unable or unwilling to consider our argument that the case was about whether the State of New Jersey could conduct and fund a partisan primary system that excluded 46 percent of the State's voters. As Harry Kresky, Esq. said in the Newark Star-Ledger, "What we are trying to do is raise the constitutional issue of whether New Jersey can fund and administer a primary system that only allows party members to participate." Added plaintiff Rebecca Feldman, "The other plaintiffs and I never thought it would be easy to get beyond the hold the major parties have on our election system," Feldman said. "This is only the first round."   Read more here.


JUDGE INVALIDATES UTAH GOP PRIMARY
Independents Wrongfully Barred from Voting

On August 15th Utah State District Judge Claudia Laycock invalidated a GOP primary election held on June 24th after evidence came to light that election workers illegally turned independent voters away from the polls.  

Attorney and independent activist Steve Maxfield, who acted as counsel for Jim Dyer who was running for Millard County Commission against incumbent James Withers, discovered at least 20 cases in one precinct where independent voters were wrongfully prevented from casting a ballot. Utah election code allows same-day party registration for independent voters to vote in the primary. "This is a testament of multiple problems" said Randy Miller, President of the Utah League of independent Voters. "Our election code is convoluted enough to indicate that county clerks are having difficulty in comprehending it, and it establishes different requirements for different classes of votes. ...Any law applied to law abiding citizens should be applied evenly without any distinction beyond that of eligible voters." 

Meanwhile, Miller reports that the Utah Debate Commission has established an unprecedented 10% threshold for 2014 debates, which all but guarantees the exclusion of minor party and independent candidates.  More information can be found at the ULiV.org about candidates affected.

Letters to the Editor

Independent Alabama's Bob Friedman "speaks out" in The Anniston Star about the latest threats by Alabama's GOP Chair to close primaries there. 

Ray Hudkins has an article in Context Florida about why Floridians should support a top two nonpartisan primary


Gwen Mandell
Director of National Outreach
IndependentVoting.org
800-288-3201

national@IndependentVoting.org

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