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Opinion

Commission should remove Independents’ barriers, says area resident

9/5/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

President [Barack] Obama’s newly appointed Commission on Election Administration has begun holding public hearings around the country. The 10-member body is tasked with presenting recommendations to the president about how to “improve the voter experience.” Independent voters have a lot to say about the topic.

Representatives of independent voter groups in Virginia, New York and Florida have attended hearings in [Washington] D.C. and Miami and submitted testimony. Other local independent voter groups, including Independent Ohio, who are under the umbrella of IndependentVoting.org (a national association for independent voters), will be attending hearings [one of which is in Ohio Sept. 20].

Independents are deeply concerned that America’s political process is in a crisis and agree this deserves serious attention. But the Commission has carved out a narrow mandate that we believe falls short of the public debate we need to have.

There are specific defects that affect independent voters that the Commission doesn’t seem prepared to address. For example, here in Ohio independents can only vote on issues, not on candidates, in the primaries unless they choose to join one of the parties and vote on their ballot. With 40 percent of Americans now identifying as independent, looking at these process issues should be a Commission priority!

Independents believe that reform won’t come from the political parties themselves (they have too much to lose) but from outside of it and from the bottom up. We are working to expose the barriers independents face to fully participating in the electoral process.

We invite you to join us!

Cynthia Carpathios, founder, Independent Ohio, Canton

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