Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Monday, February 28, 2011

Support for DePasquale Pennsylvania Bill to Include Independents in Primary Vote

Joseph Deinlein, a writer for the Sunbury PA Daily Item, writes about a "glimmer of hope for the independent voters" in Of primary concern 
 As one who has been an independent since I registered to vote, I’ve always hated not being allowed to vote in the primary. Particularly in Pennsylvania, off-year municipal elections tend to get decided in May, not November, because often there is only one party that puts forth any candidates. It gets more complicated at the local level when there are multiple people running on both sides.

State Rep. Eugene DePasquale, D-York, announced last week the introduction of a package of four bills designed to improve voter turnout and give more voters a voice on Election Day.

The first bill would allow voters registered as Independents to cast ballots in Pennsylvania primary elections.

"In an era where more and more voters are registering as Independents, we should not be denying those voters the chance to make their voices heard in a primary election," DePasquale said. "This bill would allow Independents to choose which party’s ballot they would like to vote on during the primary. Also, if those Independent voters would like to vote in the Democratic primary one year and the Republican primary the next, or vice versa, my legislation would give them that choice."

Read more about the independent movement in Pennsylvania at Independent Pennsylvanians

South Dakota Legislature Kills Open Primary Bill

South Dakota Voice of Independents founder Kim Wright emailed last week: As you know SB175 was sent to the senate floor last week in SD only to be completely ignored--no need for debate, bill declared dead.

History of bill in committee here

Text of bill here
Introduced by: Senators Adelstein, Cutler, Holien, and Lederman and Representative Venner

 FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to provide for the participation of independent voters in primary elections.
    Section 1. That § 12-6-2612-6-26 be amended to read as follows:
    12-6-26. If a person is registered as a member of a political party in the precinct in which the person seeks to vote, the person may vote that party's ballot at any primary election. If a person is registered to vote with no party affiliation in the precinct in which that person seeks to vote, the person may vote a single party ballot of that person's choice at any primary election.
    Section 2. That § 12-19-2.6 be amended to read as follows:
    12-19-2.6. If an absentee voter in a primary election is registered as an independent and is eligible to vote more than one ballot style pursuant to § 12-6-26, the voter may specify the voter's ballot style preference on the absentee ballot application. If no ballot style is designated, the absentee voter shall be provided a nonpolitical ballot.
    If an absentee voter in a primary election is registered as an independent and is only eligible to vote one ballot style, the absentee voter shall be provided that ballot style. If more than one ballot style is available and no nonpolitical ballot is available and the absentee voter does not designate the ballot style to be received, no ballot may be provided to the absentee voter.

Also read here

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Partisan Legislatures Challenged by Independent Movement

Charter review in Tiffin Ohio brings nonpartisan elections into relief in a partisan city council culture... New York's partisan ever-lasting ever-failing Reform Albany quest (a high-priority partisan campaign issue of any state-wide election) is failing again... Independents attempt to intervene in South Carolina Repub lawsuit to exclude voters...

  • Elections last step in review of charter (By Nick Dutro, Tiffin Advertiser Tribune) Commission members decided candidates could not declare themselves as "independent," but had to either choose party affiliation or run non-partisan.
  • Redistricting bill quickly bottled up (By Erik Engquist and Jeremy Smerd, Crain's New York) A rule change made by Senate Democrats when they controlled the chamber makes it possible for the minority party to bring bills up without the leadership's consent. But that does not apply to legislation assigned directly to the Rules Committee, which is where Senate Republicans have sent Mr. Cuomo's independent redistricting bill.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Big Ideas from Pennsylvania

Eugene DePasquale of Pennsylvania is attempting to push legislation through that will reform voting. The core of his plan has to do with independent voters, specifically allowing them to vote in oprn primaries and make it easier to run for office by lifting restrictions placed on them.

State lawmaker pursues big voting reform ideas (Jennifer Rizzi, WHTM - abc27 News Harrisburg) "If Independent voters would like to vote in the Democratic primary one year and the Republican primary the next, or vice versa, my legislation would give them that choice," DePasquale said. He also wants to make it easier for Independents to run for political office by equalizing their rights and options with other parties.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Open Primaries Heads Growing List of Urgent Political Reforms

In a study done by Harvard Kennedy School Lecturer Elaine C. Kamarck and Brookings Institution Senior Fellow William A. Galston, a conclusion was drawn that changing the way we elect our leaders could reduce the "polarization" of American politics. The key to doing this they say: Opening up primaries to everyone instead of restricting it by party affiliation.

  • Report Examines Political Partisans (By ARIANE LITALIEN, Harvard Crimson) According to Galston and Kamarck, one way to reduce extremism in American politics is to open primaries to all voters instead of restraining them to members of particular political parties.
  • No Surprises: Rahm Wins in Chicago - The suits remain firmly in control of the Windy City. What does Emanuel’s victory mean for urban progressive politics? (By DAVID MOBERG, In These Times) Reformers in Chicago in the ’60s and ’70s called themselves “independents,” un-bought by and opposed to machine rule. With the Washington movement, progressives identified as fighting for the interests of neighborhoods and communities… But under Daley II the progressive forces—political reformers, community organizations, neighborhood development groups, civil rights organizations and others—weakened, more often soliciting modest help from Daley than posing real challenges.
  • Candidates not done in 14 wards, could get assist from Emanuel (By Abdon M. Pallasch and Fran Spielman, Chicago Sun Times) In the South Side’s 20th Ward, grammy-winning hip hop artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith, 33, managed to force freshman Ald. Willie Cochran into a run-off. “I believe that, because I’m an artist, my ability to think creatively, my ability to communicate, allows me to be a more effective advocate for my community when I speak on their behalf in the City Council.”

C-SPAN Continued Coverage of National Conference of Independents Tonight, 6pm EST

Don't miss C-SPAN's continued coverage of the 2011 National Conference of Independents airing:

Friday, February 25, 2011 on CSPAN-2 at 6:00 pm / EST.

Saturday, February 26, 2011 on CSPAN-1 at 11:00 pm / EST.

Also, you can now view Jackie Salit's keynote address online at CSPAN's website by clicking here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Democracy in Egypt & America - the Beat Goes On

  • Democracy and the Institutions of Democracy (Harry Kresky, Huffington Post) Significantly, the first institution the pundits call for in Egypt is political parties. But here in America the people are fed up with the role the parties are playing in our democracy.

There is a new mayor in Chicago, as Rahm Emanuel beat out six other candidates with 55 percent of the vote in a tactically perfect campaign.

Independents in Arizona are making politics difficult in The Grand Canyon State with a whopping 31.7 of total indies there; being responsible for a large chunk of the 7.5 percent dip for the GOP and 6.8 percent for the dems since 2001.

    • Editorial: Politics getting more difficult (The Daily Courier) One thing is for certain: with more and more people abandoning the Republican and Democratic parties for independent status, it makes the job of the well-known parties that much more difficult.
    • Make U.S. Politics Safe for Moderates (William A. Galston, Senior Fellow, Governance Studies; Elaine Kamarck, Public Policy Lecturer, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University - BROOKINGS) The primary electorate is a small, unrepresentative portion of the overall electorate. In the highly visible 2010 election season, for example, only 7.5 percent of all voting-age Americans took part in congressional primaries — actually higher than in past years. This primary electorate is dominated by the parties’ base voters — which is not true in general elections. That’s why so many Americans say they are unhappy with their choices in November.
    • Chicago Votes in Emanuel as Mayor (BY: DAVID CHALIAN AND TERENCE BURLIJ, PBS NewsHour) Galston and Kamarck propose getting rid of the closed primary system, arguing it enables the extremes of both parties to determine the nominees. They instead call for open primaries, or as California now does, one primary for all the candidates, and have the top two finishers, regardless of party affiliation, face off in the general election.
    • National Popular Vote Plan Pushers Hire New Lobbyists, Bring on Deep-Pocketed Help (By Michael Beckel, Center for Responsive Politics/Open Secrets blog) National Popular Vote's legislative proposal -- which requires a state's electors to cast their votes for the winner of the national popular vote instead of the winner of the state-wide vote -- has been adopted in states representing about a quarter of the Electoral College.
    • Supporting bison (By Ilona Popper, LETTER Helena MT Independent Record) Your “party lines” alienate Republicans, Democrats, and independent voters, like me.

    "Social / Economic Issues": Distraction or means to an end?

    The panel discussion at the independent voter conference in New York earlier this month entertained the concept that independents could and should get involved in ideologically-determined "issue-based" organizing, such as education or healthcare, the deficit, the national budget. I think...not so much. The dysfunction or paralysis of some of these programs and policies can serve as a means for addressing the root cause of our policy woes--our too narrow and too elite political process.
    Case in point: if your net worth has plummeted in the last few years due to the financial meltdown then ask yourself why haven't we enacted any serious financial regulations? What have we done to prevent this from happening again and why hasn't anybody gone to jail?

    The answer is we haven't done a thing to prevent it from happening again (officially). We haven't enacted any real reforms to insist on some basic honesty on Wall Street. Why?

    That is a complex answer all bundled up in the two-party system and our persistent backroom methods of selecting candidates or more particularly the process by which candidates are paid to line up behind policy created in smoke filled backrooms. We haven't got a prayer of addressing policy and ideological reforms until the process can be addressed.

    link to Rolling Stone article:

    CSPAN to Air Jackie Salit's Keynote at National Conference of Independents Tonight, 11pm EST

    CSPAN-3 will broadcast president Jackie Salit's keynote address at the 2011 National Conference of Independents tonight, Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm - 11:10 pm EST.

    Additional portions of the conference will be broadcast over the weekend. You can check CSPAN's schedule here.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    Arizona Indie's Making A Push

    • Independent Voters Are On the Move. Two-Party System BEWARE -- Tunisia and Egypt Can Happen Here! (By William J. Kelleher, Ph.D., Independents are organizing. That is not easy for them to do. It's not in their nature. But on February 12, 2011, in New York City, the momentum began picking up speed. That is when some 500 independent activists from all around the country converged on the campus of NYU to share notes and experiences, and to piece together some answers to the questions about who is repressing us, and how they are doing it. The event was hosted by
    • Independents now outnumber Democrats in Arizona -Parties, candidates will have to contend with elusive voters more than ever (By Joanna Dodder Nellans, The Daily Courier) The independent numbers have been on an increasing curve ever since the state's voters approved moving to a quasi-open primary in 1998. That allowed independents to choose a party ballot to vote on. Republicans tend to oppose the open primary more than Democrats. Statewide, Republicans have talked about trying to opt out of the open primary through the court system like the Libertarians did.
    • Redistricting critical to bring balance to the Legislature (by David Lujan, former House minority leader, ARIZONA REPUBLIC/My Turn) The candidates from whichever party dominates voter registration in these "non-competitive" districts are the ones who win, and often the only way they can win is by playing to the extremes in their party.
    • State government mired in tired politics, policies (Arizona Republic) Low-turnout primaries and uncompetitive districts have decimated the political middle at the Legislature. Yet Arizonans clearly want practical solutions, not ideological purity. The ranks of independent voters have grown so rapidly that they now outnumber Democrats and are gaining on Republicans. The solution could be right next door. In June, California voters decided to switch to "open primaries," in which candidates compete regardless of party. The top two vote-getters then go head to head.
    • Tom Golisano: Reform The Electoral College (BY CELESTE KATZ, NY Daily News/Daily Politics) Tom Golisano, a three-time candidate for governor, is now focusing his attention (and money) on reforming the system of awarding electoral votes in presidential elections.
    • Destroying the Electoral College System (By Azi Paybarah, WNYC/The Empire) Tom Golisano aims at the electoral college, something people like Hillary Clinton once embraced.
    • Tom Golisano to help effort to end Electoral College (Democrat & Chronicle) In an interview with Gannett's Albany bureau on Monday, Golisano said his role in the national push would be to meet with legislative leaders and governors across the country. The measure has already passed six states and is being actively considered in dozens of others.
    • Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos are getting weaselly about redistricting (EDITORIAL NY Daily News) And while 138 legislators signed Koch's pledge, the two leading proposals in the Legislature have garnered only 41 and 15 co-sponsors. Clearly, a huge bloc still hates the idea of giving up redistricting power. They like picking their voters, instead of the other way around.
    • Poll: Voters Oppose Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in Union Standoff (By ROBERT SCHLESINGER, US News and World Report) Independent voters think state workers should be able to keep their collective bargaining rights if they agree to the cuts Walker wants, by a margin of 76-19; even Republicans are closely split, with 49 percent thinking the workers should keep their rights and 47 percent agreeing with Walker’s hard line

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Independent's On The Move

    • America's independent political activists meet in New York (Mark Wachtler, Independent Examiner) As a 25 year veteran of the independent political movement, your author is no stranger to CUIP, Jackie Salit or the annual attempts to organize this nationwide movement of independent voters into one united political force. However, under the decade-long vocal leadership of the activists in New York, independents have made little or no progress even though the political environment across the nation has been screaming for independent candidates and a legitimate third party. One glance at the program highlights reveals little has changed this year and desperate independents throughout America will have to wait even longer, or look elsewhere for leadership.
    • Unpeeling the power of Independents: Part III (Posted by Nia Ngina Meeks, Nia Means Purpose) "I don't think it [Prop 14] is just a big moment for California," Fulani said. "It's a big moment for the country. But you can't skip over the basic hard work of what's created this room, and what's created this movement overall."
    • Obama and the GOP's Spending Cuts: Where's the Outrage? - Why the president's walking a fine line on the Republicans' slash-and-burn budget proposals. (— By David Corn, Mother Jones) The president also is striving to be Washington's adult-in-chief, talking up the need for bipartisan negotiations and the potential for agreement across party lines. He's ceding the politics of defiance to the Republicans. This could well be because his approval ratings have ticked upward since he hammered out the bipartisan tax-cut deal with the Republicans in December. He seems to be content to let the Republicans be the food-fighters, so he can position himself as a rise-above-them leader—which, presumably, will enhance his appeal among independent voters. But there's something else: recent public opinion polling. At a retreat of Democratic senators last week, Democratic pollster Geoff Garin presented bad news: Republicans had gained the edge in the debate over government spending. Voters, especially independents, he told the Dems, care first and foremost about improving the economy, but they believe the better way to do so is by cutting spending, not investing. That is, many voters have accepted the GOP's fundamental talking point.
    • Indy Boss Holds onto Bloomberg Donation, Accounts Frozen (By Azi Paybarah, WNYC/The Empire) “If there is a victim in this very strange case, it is either the Independence Party or Mayor Bloombeg. Why would we give the money to anyone else?” MacKay told me. [Article links to NY Post David Seifman BELOW]
    • DA raps Indie Party in $1M Mike-elex theft (By DAVID SEIFMAN City Hall Bureau Chief, NY Post) In a bombshell development, Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance Jr. is accusing the state Independence Party of complicity in the theft of $1.1 million from Mayor Bloomberg, and the DA has frozen all party bank accounts in preparation for seizing its assets.
    • Suit Suggests Political Party Knew of Fraud (By JOHN ELIGON, NY Times) The Independence Party may have helped a Republican political consultant cover up a scheme to steal more than $1 million from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg during his 2009 re-election bid, the Manhattan district attorney’s office alleged in court filings released on Thursday.
    • New York Independence Party Faces Legal Woes (Ballot Access News)
    • Barron leads ‘shame on you’ chant against Cuomo (by Jimmy Vielkind, Capitol bureau, Albany Times Union) Four people, led by New York City Councilman Charles Barron and his wife, Assemblywoman Inez Barron, chanted “tax the rich” and “stop the cuts” as Cuomo addressed the 40th annual gathering of the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Can Independents Reform America and Unrig the System?

    Can Independents Reform America and Unrig the System?
    Joe Gandelman hits the mark in his article about the national conference of independents last Saturday hosted by's Jackie Salit.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    "Can Independents Reform America" National Conference a Success

    Bill Kelleher and daughter 
    Hankster Editorial Assistant Charles Perez
    mans the camera at Skirball event for independents

    Joe Gandelman (top right) of The Moderate Voice, blogger section at Feb. 12 national conference;  Nia Ngina Meeks blue top next left
    left to right: Pat Gale (Americans United to Rebuild Democracy) 
    Rai-mon Nemar (LEGENDmag) and Jameson Small 
    (Americans United to Rebuild Democracy) 
    • INDEPENDENTS GATHER FOR NATIONAL CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK CITY (by Damon Eris, CAIVN) On Saturday, hundreds of Independents from across the country gathered in New York City for the CUIP’s National Conference of Independents entitled, “Can Independents Reform America?”
    • Unpeeling the power of Independents: Part IV (Nia Ngina Meeks, Nia Means Purpose blog) ‘We want to see change in how the system operates,” said Jackie Salit, president of, sponsor of the conference, Salit had helped manage Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s winning independent run for a third term at the helm of New York.
    • “We are the country. We don’t have to ‘take it back.’ We do have to take control of our democracy,” she told the audience. “This has been hijacked by the political parties. We believe in creative self-governing activities, with or without a party.”
    • Independent Voters in Major Conference in New York City: A Growing (But Dissed or Taken for Granted) Movement (POSTED BY JOE GANDELMAN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, The Moderate Voice) New York, NY — It’s a low key gathering of concerned citizens young and old, former members of the two political parties who were in office and quickly disillusioned about the priority placed on partisanship over real reform and solid policy, longtime organizers who’ve been trying (fruitlessly) for years to establish a strong third party or strong independent party, some top academics even an independent voter analyists from CNN. The event: a national conference of independents sponsored by the Committee for a Unified Independent Party aka at NYU’s Skirball Center for the Peforming Arts.
    • Find Love in the Battle (by celitheactress, The Life of the Actress "N" Such blog) On Saturday, Feb.12th I attended an amazing conference hosted by – CAN INDEPENDENTS REFORM AMERICA? Thousands of independents from over 39 states came together Saturday morning to discuss the importance of the independent movement in this partisan dominated political system. As a young political independent continuing to find my way, this confrence really shed light to the inequalities in the poltical system in this country.  I heard amazing stories from independents around the country fighting for the issue of a non-partisan elections. It gave me chills and tears to hear how thousands of Americans are fighting for this, it is truly inspirational.
    • The Independent Groundswell (By Solomon Kleinsmith, WNYC/It's A Free Country blog) I’m flying halfway across the country again because I want to meet more of the people spearheading this groundswell across the country. I talk to people like this all of the time through the contacts I’ve made on my blog, but I rarely get to meet any of them in person. As I look around the country I see more and more signs that people not only are rejecting the major parties and declaring their independence, but that the giant vacuum between the two major parties is beginning to be filled. As far as I know, this is the only national event that tries to bring some of those people together in one place.
    • National Conference of Independents 2011 Update (Michael Drucker, Independent View) Thanks to The Hankster for inviting me to her group for lunch. At our table I meet Joe Gandelman and Rai-mon Nemar...
    • Can independents reform America? Nat'l Conference of Independents this weekend (Ken Bingenheimer, National Common Ground Examiner) Can independents reform America? That theme is at the heart of the efforts of a growing number of groups these days, and it will be the focus of Committee for a Unified Independent Party (CUIP) Saturday in its National Conference of Independents. The conference will be held at the Skirball Performing Arts Center at New York University in New York City.
    • National Conference of Independents in NYC (by D. Eris, Third Party and Independent Daily)
    • NOTE: The Field Negro ran a link to the livestream of the conference