Last week, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-ME) sent a letter to the Presidential Commission on Election Administration with a simple message: protect the rights of independent voters.
Most states have an electoral system that favors the two mainstream political parties and denies millions of voters a meaningful and equal voice at the voting booth.
As the election commission considers solutions to make the voting process easier for voters nationwide, King urged members not to overlook the growing voting bloc of independent voters.
Dear Commissioners Bauer and Ginsberg: Today, fewer Americans are enrolling in political parties. The standard voting mechanisms and procedures throughout the country have worked in the past because the vast majority of the population was enrolled in either major party. In Maine, for example, election clerks who assist with ballots are members of the three parties (Democratic, Green Independent, and Republican) but independents (who are termed "unenrolled" and in Maine include up to 36% of the population) -- do not have election clerks who can ensure the integrity of the voting process. I hope that as part of your review of the nation's voting problems that you look for situations similar to this. An established system should be regularly evaluated to determine if parameters to be updated to reflect the changes that occur in all societies. As an Independent United States Senator and former Independent Governor of Maine I believe voters not enrolled in a political party should be afforded the same rights given to voters who are enrolled in either party. I thank you for the important role you are performing in improving the sacred right of voting by your participation on the Presidential Commission on Election and Administration. Sincerely, Angus S. King, Jr. United States Senator
The progress the commission is making in improving elections is up to debate, but a major concern among many nonpartisan groups and independent-minded voters is that the members of the election commission are not doing enough to protect the vast, diverse, and growing segment of the electorate that wishes not to affiliate with either major party. While Senator King's letter does not address just how deep this problem goes, it does urge the commission to listen to groups it has for the most part ignored.
Photo Credit: Angus King / Facebook