VA, Virginia Independent Voters Association (VIVA)
Every six weeks, CUIP president Jacqueline Salit hosts America's largest ongoing national call for independents. She provides updates about what independents are doing around the country and how the movement is growing. Get connected, hear updates.
Listen to this interview with Jackie Salit as she talks about independents inserted our voice into the midterm elections. Voting Rights Are Primary pickets were held in North Carolina, Ohio, in Reno and Las Vegas Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Florida, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, Maryland and Utah accompanied by media attention (both articles and stories about and letters to the editor and opinion pieces by activists published). The campaign generated lots of new supporters. Additionally, activists in Michigan, New Mexico and Colorado wrote articles that were published in their local papers.
The Election Reform Committee of IndependentVoting.org has released a report entitled"How to Mobilize and Engage Independents in Your Network" to capture what they learned in the process of organizing independents to participate in the lobbying effort directed at the President's Commission on Election Administration. "We hope that in this report we have captured key lessons in a way that other independent activists all over will find useful," said Steve Richardson, chair of the Committee. The PCEA concluded its process by issuing a set of recommendations to President Obama which notably made no mention of independents.
The fight for NonPartisan elections continues, with a new nonprofit, ONE (Open Nonpartisan Elections) emerging to advocated for structural political reform that would allow independents to vote in every round of elections. It is led by former Mayor Paul Johnson. Listen to a telephone town hall here. If you are interested in participating, email email@example.com.
Florida Fair and Open Elections was formed in March 2012 and is coordinated by Duane Pike in Tampa, Ray Hudkins of Pensacola and Choice Edwards in Clermont.
Steve Hough has been organizing independents in Panama City, polling voters on the phones at in the streets. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Says Pike, "We now have spokespeople in numerous cities throughout Florida and have developed materials to help in our efforts to contact representatives, write editorials and media requests and build independent organization in Florida. We urge you to be part of our exciting and important campaign for open primaries here in Florida."
Florida Fair and Open Elections has been waging a battle to for a Top Two Open Primary Initiative Petition in Florida. For more info, go to Florida IndependentVoting.org's website.
Independent Kentucky continues the fight for open primaries and political reform. Contact email@example.com. or you can find Independent Kentucky here to follow Independent Kentucky's ongoing fight to pass open primary legislation.
IK now has its own IK-Live UStream station where you can check out their latest statewide meeting. On the last broadcast, IK Chair Michael Lewis spoke about the organization's 120/120 campaign where they are looking to get 120 signatures in each of the Commonwealth's 120 counties. IK also began phone bank events to reach out to independents around the state.
If you are a concerned Maine citizen looking to challenge the dominance of the parties over the process and want to get involved, contact Joe Pickering at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out video of forums Joe, along with the Bangor League of Women Voters and Bangor Public Library organized, the first, September 30, 2013 which featured prominent independents, including IndependentVoting.org's Jackie Salit and the second (October 2013) and third (May 2014) asked leaders of the parties to address thh issues of independent voters.
Phil Leech is a resident of Spring Lake, Michigan, 30 miles west of Grand Rapids where he lives with his wife Betty. After signing up on the IndependentVoting.org website, Phil wrote this letter to the editor as part of the Voting Rights Are Primary campaign which was published in two newspapers talking about the "serious flaws which precludes many Michigan citizens from truly making their choices heard."
Says Phil: "I decided to found Michigan Independent Voters because I believe we can take this fight one step further on a state and local level by challenging the structure of a process which locks a large segment of voters out. A nonpartisan commission for the establishment of congressional and legislative boundaries and open primaries are two issues that I personally believe strongly in."
Natesha Oliver, founded Missouri Independents Stand Together (MIST) by surveying voters on primary day, August 5 in Kansas City, Missouri. She said: "It was the first time that I had done anything like this, and I was a little nervous, but I was comfortable in what I was doing and that eased the fear." Her letter to the editor, "Independents Get Short Shrift," was printed in the Independence Examiner prior to primary day. Natesha is excited about continuing to build M.I.S.T. Contact her at email@example.com to join her or go to the M.I.S.T. website.
Catana Barnes of Reno is the leader of Independent Voters of Nevada (IVON). Nevada is a closed primary state. Barnes is currently calling independents across the state and polling them. The open primary petition can be downloaded here or sign the petition online here
Led by Tiani Coleman and Susan Erickson, New Hampshire Independent Voters has been out conducting a survey and meeting voters. Prio to their successful Voting Rights Are Primary picket on primary day, co-chair Tiani Coleman wrote this editorial, "What About Moving to NonPartisan Primaries," which appeared in the Foster Daily Democrat and Keene Sentinel Source
For more information on how to join New Hampshire Independent Voters, contact Tiani Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org
The movement for political reform is growing in New Mexico! After attending IndependentVoting.org's national conference of independents, former legislator Bob Perls took the fight back to New Mexico. "The experience was transformative because it reinforced that there is a national movement targeting the same critical electoral and structural political reforms I have been passionate about for decades."
Check out KOB-TV's coverage of the new organization, New Mexico Open Primaries and listen here to Bob on the Rock of Talk radio show. To become involved, contact Bob at email@example.com.
Please sign this petition posted by New Mexico independent leader Tisha LeRose in support of Top Two which says Closed primaries serve the interests of the political parties and not the people. Top two nonpartisan primaries put the power where it belongs - WITH THE PEOPLE.
North Carolina Independents are holding a series of forums, including the recent one at UNC-Greensboro. Dr. Omar Ali (Assoc. Prof of African American & Diaspora Studies & History, UNC-Greensboro) and Donna Moser authored an op ed Declaration of Independents. North Carolina Independents which represents the 1.5 million unaffiliated voters is involved in a variety of activities to call for hearings on the biases of independents and to increase to the registration (and voice) of unaffiliated voters in NC. If you'd like to get involved, email NCI at NC.Independents@gmail.com or check out their website
Independent Ohio is organizing a panel discussion on nonpartisan politics on October 10, "Moving Beyond Partisanship" at Oberlin College. To find out more or get involved in Independent Ohio, contact IndependentOhio@gmail.com or visit Independent Ohio's website.
Independent Voters of Oregon is be working on mobilizing voters in Oregon for a top two open primary initiative (Vote Yes on 90) that will be on the ballot in November. Spokespersons Charles Young and Bentley Gilbert were intereviewed in an article that appeared on the front page of Roseburg's local paper Sunday edition, the Roseburg News and Review. For more information or to get involved, check out IVOO's new website or contact Charles Young at Charles. Young@umpqua.edu.
Independent Pennslyvanians. Led by Jennifer Bullock, Independent Pennsylvania continue to fight for open primaries. Read articles in The Philadelphia Weekly and NewsWorks on IPA's informational pickets highlighting independents' exclusion from the process. For more information on Independent Pennsylvania go to Independent Pennsylvania and take the PA Citizen Survey
52 South Carolina Independents signed on to a letter to the editor supporting efforts by a coalition of forces including Independentvoting.org, South Carolina Independence Party (led by Wayne Griffin, left with CUIP attorney Harry Kresky) and 13 local elected officials to keep the primaries open. The coalition intervened on the Republican Party's attempt to have the primaries closed and Judge Michelle Childs ruled in favor of keeping the primaries open. Congratulations to all!
In open primaries fight, one down and one to go. Kim Wright, the founder and chair of South Dakota Voice of Independents, has been working tirelessly for open primaries in a state where the legislature leaves it up to the parties to decide whether to welcome independents or keep them out. In October of last year, the Democratic Party voted to open its primaries to independents beginning in 2011. In "Finally, a seat at the table" in the Rapid City Journal, Wright called upon the Republican Party to follow suit, but the GOP let the 12/31 deadline pass without changing its closed-door policy. Read Wright's letter to the editor in the Rapid City Journal. Read more
On Independentvoting.org's October 12 conference call, Jackie Salit urged participants to "Write to President Obama"
110 people wrote letters in the week leading to the Midterm elections. Read the letters here. You can still write your letter today! Find out what Salit said and where to send your letter here
The national Coffee Party held its first convention in Louisville, Kentucky the weekend of September 24-26 entitled Restoring American Democracy and Independentvoting.org was invited to be a sponsor of the event by Coffee Party founder Annabel Park. Michael Lewis of Independent Kentucky and Gwen Mandell, national coordinator of Independentvoting.org conducted a workshop on “The Rise of Independent Voter.”Read More
Newly independent elected officials go to work for political reform. Joelle Riddle (top left), a County Commissioner in La Plata, Colorado, decided that she could serve her constituents most effectively as an independent. So the former Democrat changed her registration - only to find she couldn't run again as an independent because state law requires that would-be candidates who re-register must have done so 18 months in advance of the election. Riddle filed a lawsuit challenging the law; she also turned to State Representative Kathleen Curry (bottom left), then Speaker Pro Tem of the House, asking her to sponsor legislation that would level the playing field. Curry re-registered as an indy too! Read the joint amicus brief filed by CUIP and Riddle in support of State Curry’s appeal which seeks relief from discriminatory deadlines imposed on
independent candidates (along with the press release announcing it) and an article about Riddle's efforts in the Durango Herald. Independent Voters for Colorado, launched a petition drive calling for non-partisan open primaries (Top Two).
Independents at Claim Democracy Conference. Harry Kresky (pictured on right with US Term Limits and Initiative & Referendum champion Paul Jacob) led a workshop on the subject of fusion-voting and the Independence Party experience in NY at a conference on political reform sponsored by FairVote and 60 other organizations. Read more.
2007 National Conference of Independents. Hosted by CUIP political director Jackie Salit, 500 independents from 31 states gathered in New York City for a day long event featuring an in-depth look at how independents can increase visibility and influence in the political process.