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Contact us to get involved! Email us at national@cuip.org, or call us at 1-800-288-3201 to be active in our national network of independents. Send us copies of what you send out, and tell us about any progress you make. Let's take advantage of this moment!

Nancy Ross
National Organizer

Does your state have an open primary? Click on map above to find out.



Daily and weekly newspapers in your areas.

Pick up the daily newspaper in your area and the weekly community newspapers too. Go to the "letters to the editor" section, and look for instructions for how to submit letters to the editor.

OR

Go to the web site of your local newspaper. Usually there is a section called "letters" or "opinion," and instructions for how readers can submit letters to the editor via email. Click here for links to US newspapers.

OR

Call the newspaper and ask how to submit your letter.

INDEPENDENTS ACTION ALERT!
Let's call for Open Primaries in Every State

During the primary season , CUIP has received many calls and messages from independents around the country askingwhether they can vote in the upcomingpresidential primaries. Each state has different procedures for their elections, and the political parties in each state determine who can vote in the primaries,so the answer varied.
In 18 states, independents can't vote in the presidential primaries. Let's tell the parties and the pundits that independents must be included at every stage of our elections!
Here's what you can do:
1. Write a letter to the editor. There's lots of press coverage about the presidential election; any article about the subject of elections would be relevant to respond to. See sample letter below and click on the map to find out if your state has open or closed primaries; instructions for how to send your letter to a local daily or weekly community newspaper are below the map.
2. Contact us to get involved! Email us at national@cuip.org, or call us at 1-800-288-3201 to be active in our national network of independents.
Send us copies of what you send out, and tell us about any progress you make. Let's take advantage of this moment!
I want to join the open primary campaign

Email:
SAMPLE LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Dear Editor,
Everyone's talking about the impact independent voters are having in this presidential election. But in 18 states, independents can't vote in the primaries or caucuses. With polls showing independents making up 40% of the electorate, closed primaries disenfranchise a significant number of the American people.
Currently, the law allows the Democrats and Republicans to determine whether independents can vote in primaries. But shouldn't our rights as voters trump the rights of the political parties? Shouldn't all of us, whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, have a fundamental right to participate in every stage of our election process? And who pays the costs associated with holding primaries and caucuses of these quasi-governmental entities, the Democrats and Republicans? In the vast majority of states, it's the taxpayers .
Independent voters in closed primary states don't enjoy the rights of full citizenship and are excluded from what is often the most critical part of the electoral process. In these states, where one party often dominates, the primary election is the only one that matters. The general election is a rubber stamp of the primary's results, and then, the votes of independent voters are irrelevant.
Voter interest and participation increase when independent voters are permitted to participate in the primaries. It forces the candidates to be less partisan, and to address problems that affect all Americans, so they appeal to all voters.
FOR CLOSED PRIMARY STATES
Our primaries are not open to independents. Independents are getting together as part of a growing network in our state and in the country (see www.independentvoting.org) to loudly demand that democracy and the voters come before party interests. The parties should open their primaries!
FOR OPEN PRIMARY STATES
Our primaries are open to independents, and we are having a huge impact on this presidential election. Independents are getting together as part of a growing network in our state and in the country (see www.independentvoting.org) to loudly demand that democracy and the voters come before party interests. W e must keep vigilant watch on the parties to make sure our primaries remain open, and support our fellow Americans in other states so they can be fully franchised.
Your Name and State

Morning Call - Allentown, PA
Feb. 18, 2008

Primary election laws unfair to independents

Everyone's talking about the impact independent voters are having in this presidential election. But in 18 states, independents can't vote in the primaries or caucuses. With polls showing independents making up 40 percent of the electorate, closed primaries disenfranchise a significant number of the American people.
Democrats and Republicans determine whether independents can vote in primaries. But, shouldn't our rights as voters trump the rights of the political parties? And who pays the costs associated with holding primaries and caucuses? In the vast majority of states, it's the taxpayers.
In states where one party dominates, the primary election is the only one that matters, and the votes of independent voters are irrelevant.
Voter interest and participation increase when independent voters are permitted to participate in the primaries. It forces the candidates to be less partisan, and to address problems that affect all Americans.
Unfortunately, our Pennsylvania primaries are not open to independents. Independents are getting together as part of a growing network in our state and in the country to loudly demand that democracy and the voters come before party interests. The parties should open their primaries!

Kevin C. Grate
Allentown, PA

Concord Monitor
Published Feb. 16, 2008

Everyone Deserves the Right to Particpate

The presidential campaign is in full swing and we have experienced many surprises, with perhaps more on the way. The buzzword is change.

The most notable change so far is the unprecedented number of citizens who have made their voices heard by getting out to vote. The largest and loudest of these voters have been independents, who are tired of partisanship dominating and corrupting our government.

Independents are nationally 35 to 45 percent of the electorate, and in this presidential primary independents are showing up in record numbers. They are the force driving for change.

As one of the 44 percent of the electorate in New Hampshire who call ourselves independent, I am proud of the American people. Citizens from all parts of the country are deeply concerned about the direction of America and have participated in the political process. However, there are citizens in 32 states who are denied access to participate in their state primaries due to their decision not to affiliate with a party. Yes, change is needed so that all citizens have access to the political process at all levels.

It is our democracy, our country and our responsibility as citizens to remain active participants.

We all have that responsibility, and we should all have that right.

BETTY WARD
Concord, NH

The Advocate
Published Feb 15, 2008 - Page: 6B

Everyone’s talking about the impact independent voters are having in this presidential election. But in 19 states, including Connecticut, independents can’t vote in the primaries or caucuses.

With polls showing independents making up 40 percent of the electorate, closed primaries disenfranchise many Americans.

Currently, the Democrats and Republicans determine whether independents can vote in primaries. But shouldn’t our rights as voters trump the rights of the political parties?

Shouldn’t all of us, whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, have the right to participate in every stage of our elections?

And who pays for the primaries? In Louisiana, it’s the taxpayers.

Independent-minded voters are getting together as part of a growing network in our state and in the country to demand that democracy and the voters come before party interests. (http://www.independentvoting.org)

The parties really should open their primaries!

R. David Brown
Baton Rouge, LA

To the Editor:

Everyone's talking about the impact independent voters are having in this presidential election. But in 19 states, independents can't vote in the primaries or caucuses. With polls showing independents making up 40 percent of the electorate, closed primaries disenfranchise many Americans.

Currently, the Democrats and Republicans determine whether independents can vote in primaries. But shouldn't our rights as voters trump the rights of the political parties? Shouldn't all of us, whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, have the right to participate in every stage of our elections? And who pays for the primaries and caucuses? In Connecticut, it's the taxpayers.

Independents are getting together as part of a growing network in our state and in the country (www.independentvoting.org) to demand that democracy and the voters come before party interests. The parties should open their primaries!

Judith Brooks
Stamford, CT

Published in the Stamford Advocate (Feb 8, 2008)

Dear Editor,

It's heartwarming that Federal Judge Gary Sharpe is so frustrated by New York's failure to meet the requirements of the Help America Vote Act that he reminded state Board of Elections officials that he could jail them for contempt. I just wonder why the justice system is so indifferent to independent voters who are disenfranchised in the primaries - which they pay for just like Republicans and Democrats do. Dare I hope that within my lifetime I will be able to vote in primaries like my fellow independents in Iowa and New Hampshire do?

Suzy Sandor
Manhattan, NY

Dear Editor,

In the news we see that independent voters are having a tremendous impact in the 2008 presidential primary elections. But in Kentucky, independents can't vote in the primaries. That's because Kentucky is one of only 18 states which have closed primaries.

Since national polls show that 40% of voters identify themselves as independents, closed primaries like Kentucky's are preventing a large percentage of Kentuckians from voting in our primary elections.

Kentucky law specifying the closed primary election system allows the Democrat and Republican party machines to keep independent voters out of the primaries. Are the "rights" of political parties more important than the rights of the voters? Shouldn't every voter, whether Democrat, Republican, a member of some other party, or an independent have a fundamental right to participate in every stage of our election process?

And who pays the costs of primary elections? It's not the political parties, it's us, the taxpayers. Why should we have to pay for a process that we're locked out of? What it amounts to is taxation without representation, and that is wrong.

Independent voters in Kentucky can't exercise their full voting rights and are excluded from what is often the most critical party of the electoral process, by Kentucky law. And since the general elections largely reflect the results of the primaries, the whole process makes the opinions and votes of independents irrelevant. Voter interest and participation forces candidates to be less partisan and to address problems that affect all Americans, in order to appeal to all voters. The closed primary system is bad for Kentucky voters and bad for the political process, and it should be changed.

Independent voters and anyone interested in improving the political process should become part of the growing independent network in Kentucky and throughout the U.S. (go to www.independentvoting.org). Also, contact your Kentucky state legislator and senator, and Governor Beshear, and ask them to put the democratic process and voter rights ahead of party interests, to change the law, and to make Kentucky an open primary state.

Jim Holbert
London, KY

Dear Editor,

Today I read that 44,000 people changed their registration to vote in today's primary. We were registered Independents and we had to change for the last primary. This is stupid.

Many states allow Independents to cross over to either party. Why not Florida?

When we returned from our vacation Sunday we had 18 calls on our answering machine. 16 of them were political.

Then we get a call from Governor Christ. Thanks Gov but I don't care who you are voting for as I do have a mind of my own. I prefer to pick the person best suited for the job not the party.

I think its time that the ACLU stand up for a legitimate cause like allowing Independents to vote in the primary for the "person" that is best suited for the position. They like to fight for causes well here's a good one for you.

Since I constitutionally have the right to vote, where does the RNC & DNC get off making the rules in Florida? Shouldn't our rights as voters supersede that of political parties? Where is our legislature that is supposed to work for us? Who pays for the primaries and caucuses? Not the RNC or DNC but "all" taxpayers. So let us band together and get Florida to change the policy and let everyone vote what we choose not what they want.

Joseph Loibl
Matlacha, FL

Published in the Pine-Island Eagle (Feb. 8, 2008)

Arizona Daily Star

Re: the Jan. 8 article "Last-ditch efforts seek to open up primaries."

It was a nice surprise to read the front-page news of Sen. Jack Harper's legislation on opening up the primaries. I have had to re-register into a party affiliation and then after February I will have to re-enroll again to keep my independent, yet overlooked status. Arizona is known for its independence; indeed Arizona Sen. John McCain benefited greatly from independents going to the polls during the open primaries in New Hampshire. Think what this could do for our state and country as a whole if primaries were indeed open in Arizona. At least a third of registered Arizonans think of themselves as independents. Why not join the many states that have open primaries? What do parties mean anymore anyways? They seem to be crippling the country, not creating opportunities for change. Hopefully, 2008 will be the year of the independent.
Ellen Rauch, Tucson, AZ

Dear Editor,

I was an Independent voter until I discovered that I had to change my affiliation in order to vote in a primary. Unfortunately I learned too late that New York is a closed primary state.

Everyone's talking about the impact independent voters have in this presidential election.But in New York independents can't vote in the primary. With polls showing independents making up 40% of the electorate, closed primaries disenfranchise a significant number of the American people.

Currently, the law allows the Democrats and Republicans to determine whether independents can vote in primaries. But shouldn't our rights as voters trump the rights of the political parties? Shouldn't all of us, whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, have a fundamental right to participate in every stage of our election process?

Independent voters in closed primary states don't enjoy the rights of full citizenship and are excluded from what is often the most critical part of the electoral process. In these states, where one party often dominates, the primary election is the only one that matters.The general election is a rubber stamp of the primary's results, and then, the votes of independent voters are irrelevant.

Voter interest and participation increase when independent voters are permitted to participate in the primaries. It forces the candidates to be less partisan, and to address problems that affect all Americans, so they appeal to all voters.

I understand in the past this effort to change the law has been unsuccessful but it is time to win this battle.

M. S. Whaley,
Millbrook, NY

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