As a non-presidential election year, voter turnout in 2014 is not likely to be very high. Congressional approval remains below 15 percent. North Carolina voter turnout is expected to be less than 20 percent. If recent trends continue, the average primary turnout this election will hover around the record low of 17.3 percent in 2012.
In light of these dim numbers, a group of independent voters is organizing what they call a “Voting Rights are Primary” campaign. They will be picketing and distributing information outside of polling locations in states across the nation that have closed primary system. In a closed primary, voters are required to register with a party in order to participate, despite having to fund these primaries with their tax dollars.
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Jacqueline Salit, president of IndependentVoting.org, a co-founding member of the #EndPartisanship coalition, says that one explanation for the lack of participation stems from election laws that prevent non-affiliated voters — about 43 percent of the voting population — from voting in primary elections.
“The midterm elections are not just about who goes to Washington. They’re about who sends them there” said Salit in a statement. “We need an open process where every voter has the right to participate in a meaningful way.”
The “Voting Rights are Primary” campaign is part of a larger effort to inform and activate the fastest growing segment of the electorate: independent voters.