Independent voters in Utah are coming together to play a historic role in the 2014 midterm elections. Traditionally we are typecast by the media as "swing voters", but this year rather than quietly accept this indignity we'll be working on primary election day June 24th to be visible at a time when we are most invisible. Like Dr. Seuss's fictional Who's would say, "We are here, we are here, we are here!"
Primary elections are pivotal in the democratic process and are often the most competitive. But in Utah, independents are compelled to affiliate with a party or accept an abridged ballot. We could stand pat and limit ourselves to voting on issues and ancillary races, but that is acquiescing to an abridged ballot – one largely devoid of candidates for the simple reason that we would not join a pre-approved political organization. When phrased in these raw terms, the anti-democratic nature of our political structures is hard to miss. Our right to freedom of association naturally encompasses freedom from compulsory association!
This is the plight of the American voter (independent or partisan): first class taxpayers when funding elections – but second class voters at the polls. A recent Gallup poll shows 42 percent of Americans identify as independent. In Utah, it is 44 percent by voter registration totals and was as high as 51.5 percent in 2012. The issue is increasingly urgent as the impact of the individual vote is marginalized by partisan primary systems.