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IVN Daily Digest -- August 7, 2014

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

1. Democratic legislators in New Mexico say they support opening primaries up to independent voters.

"The effort is being taken up by two Democratic state legislators from Albuquerque. Sen. Bill O’Neill and Rep. Emily Kane planned to announce today that they will introduce legislation in January that would end the exclusion of independent voters or voters who decline to state a party affiliation when they register."

Republicans mostly object to the idea, saying that party principles would be diluted. However, under a nonpartisan system (which the Democrats are not advocating), major party leaders would not have to worry about the principles of their private organizations being diluted and the voting rights of all voters -- major party, third party, and independent -- would be protected.

2. The likelihood of an independent being elected to the Arizona Legislature has increased significantly.

"The death of Republican state Sen. Chester Crandell has boosted the chances for an independent to be elected to the Legislature for the first time in recent memory. Crandell was unopposed in the GOP primary and was set to take on independent Tom O’Halleran in the November general election."

The door is open for the independent candidate, but there is no guarantee he will win. Crandell's replacement on the ballot has not been announced yet.

3. District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton says she will fight any attempt by Congress to block a D.C. vote on legalizing marijuana.

“We will not let history repeat itself,” Norton said in a statement on Wednesday. “Republicans tried to prevent D.C. from voting on an initiative in 1998 to legalize medical marijuana, and after voters approved it, blocked its implementation with an appropriations rider for more than 10 years.”

On Wednesday, the D.C. Board of Elections voted unanimously to put marijuana legalization on the November ballot.

4. reports that the federal transparency website cannot account for $619 billion.

"According to USA Today, The Department of Health and Human Services was one of the 302 federal agencies, which failed to report money it had spent. This agency “failed to report nearly $544 billion, mostly in direct assistance programs like Medicare.”

The $619 billion is missing from 302 federal agencies.

What news stories have you been following?

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