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Millions of Voters Disenfranchised on Super ‘Undemocratic’ Tuesday

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Super Tuesday (March1) is one of the most heavily covered events in the presidential election process. With over a dozen contests and a quarter of the delegates up for grabs on the Democratic side and nearly 30 percent of the delegates on the Republican side, Super Tuesday can pave a clear path to the nomination for the candidate who can win the most states.

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In fact, since 1988, every candidate who has won the majority of states on Super Tuesday has gone on to win their party’s nomination. This year, there are some major states up for grabs as well, including Colorado, Texas, Virginia, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Alaska (D), Arkansas, Vermont, Wyoming (R), and Alabama.

However, while the media’s focus remains on the candidates of the Republican and Democratic parties, the people who are often overlooked are the over 5 million registered independents in these states. The mass media seldom takes a closer look at how exactly candidates are picked in the first stage of the presidential election process and the millions of voters who are completely disenfranchised or have their choices severely limited because they refuse to affiliate with a private political party.

In Colorado and Alaska, for example, the parties have closed off their caucuses, requiring voters to register two months in advance in order to receive a party ballot. These states have a large portion of independent voters (35% and 54%, respectively). If any of these voters missed the January 4 deadline and wish to vote, they’re out of luck.

And after a controversial decision by the RNC, Republicans will not be conducting their caucus in Colorado at all, meaning Republican voters in the state will not be able to voice their preference either. Likewise, in Wyoming, presidential preference polls are not conducted on the Republican side because the delegates are unbound, meaning the will of party voters in the state doesn’t matter.

Oklahoma has a semi-closed primary system. Registered independents will be able to vote in the Democratic primary but not the Republican primary, since the party will not allow it. So, unless a voter registered with the Republican Party by February 5, they may be among the 12 percent of the state’s registered voting population who are faced with the choice of voting in the Democratic primary or not at all.

 

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In states like Tennessee and Georgia, party affiliation is not required to participate in the primary, but voters will be required to pledge their allegiance to the party they choose or declare an oath of intent to affiliate with the party on primary election day. The Republican Party of Virginia initially planned a similar oath for their party’s presidential primary, but cancelled those plans after facing immense pressure and backlash.

Many of the states on Super Tuesday actually do not require party affiliation to participate in presidential primary elections. However, like in Tennessee and Texas, many open partisan primary states require voters to choose one of two party ballots on election day and the party they choose is the party they have to affiliate with throughout the primary process. This means they cannot switch to another party’s ballot in the event of runoffs in statewide or congressional primary contests.

Voters are bound to the candidates of a single party not only in the presidential contest, but all statewide and congressional races. So the question that is on the minds of many voters is, how open is the process really if it still forces affiliation at the ballot box?

Join the discussion Please be relevant and respectful.

The Independent Voter Network is dedicated to providing political analysis, unfiltered news, and rational commentary in an effort to elevate the level of our public discourse.


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210 comments
PaulLillebo
PaulLillebo

The problem here is that tax money is being used to pay for these partisan primaries. There's nothing wrong with a party controlling its own nominating process. If I started a party, I would want you to join it, and if you do you can take part in deciding who should be our nominee. But if you don't want to join my party, why should you take part in choosing our nominee? That doesn't make sense. Primaries are private political party nominating processes - remove the public funding and let them do what they want. If you want to have a say in who the Repocrats nominate, then join the Repocrat party. It's simple and there's nothing unfair about it.

Shirley Manna
Shirley Manna

WE HAVE LOST OUR RIGHTS, I GUESS WE SHOULD GET USE TO IT.....AGAIN!

Char Annen
Char Annen

You don't have to declare a party affiliation to register to vote so I don't understand the issue here. If you are a "true independent" who wouldn't ever vote for any Democrat or Republican you wouldn't be interested in voting in their primaries. What's the point here?

Jane Lisheness
Jane Lisheness

Good point and yes we did this to ourselves..I see this in a differant light now. And this may be the cycle where the two party model falls apart. "Outsiders"...have the partied scrambling..a good thing and one we should remember. We shouuld never be so complacent again.

Penni Evans
Penni Evans

We need to get rid of caucuses and have primaries where everyone can vote, including independents

Nate Malo
Nate Malo

And I'm sure registration cards with flyers went to to let everyone know to rwgoater

Joe Carter
Joe Carter

George Hoos mostly because they are pretty much the same, career money grabbers who vote themselves above the law. And declare themselves morally superior.

Jan Hale
Jan Hale

Wtf! Control, control, control. So disgusting.

Jim Yedor
Jim Yedor

Primaries are party functions. If you don't belong to the Party don't get to help choose that party's candidate. "Independent"? Choose a part or run an Independent candidate.

John Roche
John Roche

Why do we pay for private groups to choose who they support?

RichardWinger
RichardWinger

Because if we didn't, there would be no primaries and party meetings would choose the nominees.  That is the system used in every other country that has elections.  It is also the system used in the U.S. before the 1900's decade.

C.T. Miller
C.T. Miller

The answer is very simple - elections should not serve the parties. However, we have done this to ourselves. The very idea of a primary is not in line with the concept of qualified candidates running for office. Additionally, it is not in line with the idea of offering voters a true choice. The purpose of a primary is to allow members of a party to choose a single candidate to represent them in the general election. For this reason, independent voters are and should be excluded from primaries. Independents are not part of a party (by definition), and should have no power to help choose a party candidate. By the same token, there are a number of qualified candidates who will not run in the general election because they lost in the primary. For this reason, instead of the nation having anywhere from 5 to 12 options in November, we are reduced to the duopoly... and all because we have allowed parties - who have no officially sanctioned purpose in government or in elections - to co-opt the electoral process in order to maintain their ironclad grasp on the future of the nation.

Hora
Hora

Left are a big dirty, and primary not show real what support have each candidate, from both Party a lot became independent voter, but Dems loose much more who GOP.

Jill Spriggs
Jill Spriggs

Bernie got the nod, so why the complaining?

Hora
Hora

Because Sanders are a guy who never was leave run and became Senator, Sanders a re poor mental ill old man try fighting for a system was prove never work, and he are to danger to freedom.

Jeff Marston
Jeff Marston

It would be an interesting round table to hear party types defend the rights of parties to do this without any independent input since their candidates are who the rest are "stuck with" come November.  

Hora
Hora

@Jeff Marston  Dems Party fight for a right never had, like illegals, and are racist and discriminator plus real criminals not respect any Laws, are a Laws breaker, guy with this thing must loose all right.

Tony Torquato
Tony Torquato

Caucus states aren't significant at this stage. In November EVERYONE will vote and they all count !!!

Hora
Hora

Oh sure, but left try impose a dream have can win, but a better be will come after, when Dems and liberals be will regret born.

Kenneth J Conte
Kenneth J Conte

The two party system is corrupt ( see super delegates ?).. primary should be a general vote with no party affiliation.. ALL AMERICANS HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE DAMN IT !

Hora
Hora

But corrupt try sabotage any thing.

Sharon Rowell
Sharon Rowell

Votes should be for the people not the parties!

Steve Stratton
Steve Stratton

Closed primaries prohibit Independent voters from voting. In a lot of states Independents are 50% of registered voters!

Sharon Wells Vargas
Sharon Wells Vargas

This whole system seems corrupt, do away with the electoral college and go to popular vote and let all parties participate.

Hora
Hora

Not only corrupt but real criminals, let voter talk in November. After election be will star ma real hunting season, illegals and liberals.

Hora
Hora

Not for Nazi party.

Deb Olson Edge
Deb Olson Edge

In Wisconsin you can register same day. Everyone should be able to vote. And Military ID as well as College ID should be accepted along with Drivers license. And if someone does not have a birth certificate there should be alternative documents allowed including past voting record!!!!

Aaron Lemus
Aaron Lemus

The fact that we still vote for one person to be in charge of our government is retarded, we need a council of more than one to determine our future.

Dan Von Dohlen
Dan Von Dohlen

Like a coutry club tax. Everyone pays but not everyone is invited.

RichardWinger
RichardWinger

Would be pleased if primaries were abolished?  There were no primaries in the U.S. before the 1900's decade, and no foreign country has government-administered primaries for parties to choose nominees.  Why not advocate to eliminate primaries, as Louisiana has (except for presidential primaries):?

Suzanne Rose
Suzanne Rose

I have been registered for some time. I don't see why there couldn't be a separate section to do immediate registration. You would use the same documents used for registering earlier and voter lists are computerized so it would show up, you would receive your ballot from the registering person and it should work.

Gary S. Tanner
Gary S. Tanner

Why don't we just stick our fingers in blue ink!!!!!!!!!!

Paul Hailey
Paul Hailey

Remember which political party , attacked their own country on 9/11

Bernard Libby
Bernard Libby

This election is the best proof possible that this is not a representative government. End all primaries. End the electoral college. Allow one month for voting so that everyone has a chance. Require any valid ID. One person = One vote! We can do better.

Gary King
Gary King

We all need to wise up and see both parties are controlling us but not listening to us. Each one elected does what ever makes the most money for them.

Sue Deyoung
Sue Deyoung

The global elites have been controlling the election process and picking the president for many years. They have the people fooled into thinking that their votes count. Sadly, they don't!

Sue Deyoung
Sue Deyoung

Sadly, the election process is all rigged. People are fooled into thinking they can pick the candidate, but the elites pick the president, and they have been for many years. It is just getting more obvious now.

Jack Dupp
Jack Dupp

The people of course. I'm a proud independent voter.... all states should recognize all eligible voters regardless of party affiliation or lack there of.

Mike Chial
Mike Chial

And independents taxes help pay for their party-time primaries. This smacks of a schizophrenic version of the soviet flavor of democracy. Just be sure to vote for Uncle Joe.

Jody McIntosh
Jody McIntosh

In Alaska no Undeclared or Independents vote on Supper Tuesday. Also at the Republican polls you had to fill out a voter information form in order to vote. Many voters were turned away because even though they were registered, had both photo ID & voters registration cards they didn't feel they should have to fill out additional information for the a Republican Party. Therefore many did not vote. Therefore it's not a true representation of the people's choice.

Scott Poe
Scott Poe

People come before parties, both since they both will cheat to win, people lose again and again......