Fed up with the two-party system, independents scored a huge victory for more open primaries in the Kentucky state senate. Despite strong opposition from Democrats, the Kentucky Senate voted to allow registered independents the opportunity to participate in the primary elections. The vote moves to the Kentucky House where Democrats comprise a majority, putting passage in jeopardy.
Independent Kentucky, a grassroots nonpartisan organization, is leading the growing effort to allow the tens of thousands of registered independents a voice in the primary elections. If the bill somehow passes the Kentucky House, independent voters could participate for the first time, though they would have to request a partisan ballot in a semi-open primary model. Partisan opposition is adamant that the current two-party system is the purest form of American democracy and should not be altered to placate those individuals who refuse to participate in the dominant, electoral model.
In California, an independent-led grassroots movement is attempting to secure a Top Two Open Primary in which ‘Decline to State’ voters would be allowed to participate in the primary process, without having to cast a partisan ballot. The open primary initiative will appear on the June ballot and is already stirring up heated debate (see here and here).
With independents comprising slightly over 20% of the California electorate and over 30% of the national electorate, the push toward open primaries looks poised to intensify as more and more disaffected voters express their frustration at the ineffectiveness of the two-party system. Tired of divisive partisanship and poor performance, independents are looking to play a more pivotal role in state and national politics, and their initial victory in the state of Kentucky proves they’re a force to be reckoned with.