One of the main questions that registered Independents were asking prior to and just after the February 28th Republican presidential preference vote in Arizona was:
Why can’t I vote?
As a registered Independent voter in Arizona I must admit that I was surprised by my and all Independent Arizona voters exclusion in a presidential primary.
Some of the disappointed Independents who couldn’t vote in the closed Republican primary changed their party affiliation in order to have their say.
Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez said calls from independents, accustomed to being able to request a major party ballot in state-run primaries, kept her phone lines busy all day Tuesday.
The Republican Party changed the rules for participation this election to include Republican Party members only.
But wait! It isn’t just the Arizona Republican Party that doesn’t want the Independents to vote; look at what some of the readers of The Arizona Daily Star had to say about Independent voters casting ballots in “their primary”.
- “You have to be kidding. It is hard to believe there are people out there in a primary election asking (why can’t I vote in the party primaries) when I don’t belong to a primary.”
- “Boo hoo, this is why it is called the REPUBLICAN PRIMARY. If you think you relate to the Republicans running and you are going to vote Republican, then change your registration to Republican prior to the Primary so you can vote in the Republican Primary. It is that simple.”
- “BWAHAHAHA!!! Cry me a river, silly independents! Boo-hoo.. what are you gonna do? Vote for Obama now? LOL! Get the hint! The GOP doesn’t want your vote come November 2012!”
- “Don’t worry Independents….as November draws near they’ll “come a courtin” ya !!
- “I don’t see where either party has a choice. Presidential Primaries are not open primaries. See: ARS 16-544G and AZ Attorney Generals Opinion I99-049.”
Linda White, executive director of the Pima County Republican Party, said her office had to explain the rules to a number of voters Tuesday. She said some even changed registration so they wouldn’t get caught four years from now.”Pima Democratic Chairman Jeff Rogers said he’d like to see the rules changed to allow independent voters, who make up nearly a third of the electorate, to cast ballots in the presidential primaries.
Rogers said he wouldn’t want to open it up to all parties, as Michigan does. That leads to mischief, he said, like the calls in Michigan from the Santorum campaign asking Democrats for their votes.
Arizona Secretary of State (Ken Bennett) compiled and issued the STATE OF ARIZONA REGISTRATION REPORT on Date/Time: 02/22/2012 11:28 AM. It states that there are 1,030,643 registered Independents in Arizona. That is an increase of 48,166 over the 982,477 number of registered Independents in 2010. They are the second largest group of registered voters in Arizona and represent 32.8% of all registered voters in the state. While registered Arizona Independents are trending up at 4.7% over the 2010-2012 time frame registered Democrats and Republicans are trending down at -4.7% and -1.15% respectively.
Given the positive voter registration trend for Independents and the negative registration trends for both the Republican and Democratic Party’s you have to wonder if they are intentionally driving voters not only from their party’s but also from their candidates.
This Gallop Poll chart shows the national voter registration tends.
If both political party’s and their members continue down this road of excluding Independents from voting in presidential primaries they should remember one thing: Be careful what you wish for. At 40% of the national electorate and climbing I believe Independents can kick your Red and Blue party’s collective donkeys to the curb.
- The Hunt for the Elusive ‘Independent Voter’ Continues (thedailybeast.com)