Independents Seek Vote in Primaries
I am one of the 2.4 million independent voters in New Jersey. Independents outnumber both the Democrats and the Republicans here, yet we are excluded from the primaries and locked out of the most important electoral decisions in our state. That means a whopping 40 percent of New Jersey voters are effectively disenfranchised.
Political scientists say that we are just “leaners,” closeted Democrats and Republicans. In truth, we are people of all stripes who want to vote for the best candidates and policies, regardless of party label. We elected President Obama, President Trump, and even Senator Menendez. Over the summer, the largest survey of independent voters nationally was conducted. I helped to coordinate the survey in New Jersey where 83 percent said they wanted to see the primaries open to independents without requiring us to affiliate with a political party and 87 percent believed the debates should be nonpartisan. Over 80 percent are unhappy our tax dollars are being spent to administer elections that exclude us.
Things don’t have to remain this way. The Supreme Court has established the Democratic and Republican parties’ right to open their primaries to independent voters. A national organization, Independent Voting, is leading the effort to open the 2020 presidential primaries to independents. It is estimated that in 2016, over 25 million voters were excluded because the primaries were closed to independents.
New Jersey Independent Voters (NJIV) has reached out to Democratic Party Chair John Currie and will reach out to Republican Chair Doug Steinhardt and other leaders. Our effort to bring all of citizens into the voting booth and political decision making is open to all readers who want our democracy to include all citizens of voting age.
I am writing to thank the Mercer County community, for supporting Hope Loves Company’s fourth Night of Hope last month at the Union Fire Co. and Rescue Squad in Titusville.
Hope Loves Company, founded in 2012, is the only nonprofit in the United States with the mission to provide emotional and educational support to children, teenagers, and young adults who have had or have a loved one battling ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
I know a lot about the disease because I lost my husband, Kevin O’Donnell, to ALS in 2001. He was 36 years old. There will be a day when everyone knows about ALS and understands the toll it takes on our families and our community. To learn more about Hope Loves Company, visit www.hopelovescompany.org, or call 609-730-1144.