#ICYMI: A Roundup of Nonpartisan Voting Rights News – August 14, 2015

The latest headlines on nonpartisan voting rights are from Mississippi, Florida, Oklahoma, and California. Enjoy.

Petitioning for a jungle primary

Source: Mark Lane, Daytona Beach News-Journal

A piece outlining the proposal in Florida for a top-two nonpartisan primary with numbers underscoring the need for opening primaries to independent voters.

My Take: For those open to the concept, a stronger, more direct case can’t be made. Lane notes that in Florida over the last ten years, while Democratic and Republican registration has risen in the single digits, no party affiliation has risen a “dramatic 47%.” He goes through the usual reasons, including people just not relating to the hyper partisanship today’s political climate produces. There is also mention of how under today’s rules, the major parties can manipulate things to further limit the influence of independent voters, but I’ll let you see for yourselves.

“Top-two” primaries in Florida: The way to go

Source: Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel

Sticking with Florida for one more, this is a somewhat humorous piece from the Orlando Sentinel sticking more to the policy reasons to support a top two without overloading you with numbers.

My Take:  Less extremeness, more involvement and no one is shut out are the reasons highlighted. California’s experience here is pointed out with the writer noting that vested interests and the parties themselves hate it and opining that that’s a reason to like it even more. Also highlighted is the fact that what also changes are taxpayer-funded primaries, which — as it has been pointed out before — simply benefit private parties at the taxpayer’s expense.

Younger Oklahomans not voting, citing political disillusion

Source: Curtis Killman, Tulsa World

An article from Tulsa World discussing the flat-out lack of interest in voting by young Oklahoma adults aged 18-24, with the numbers of registered voters in that age group declining nearly 40% in the last ten years.

My Take: Despite the headline the reasons vary. The political disillusionment comes in many forms, from not being able to connect to candidates, including not getting straight answers from them, to a feeling that the election results are essentially predetermined, to lack of interest and just not getting around to it, to a desire for registration to me made easier, preferably on-line. I’m just talking about REGISTRATION. Turnout among this group was a dismal 14.5%. To people’s credit, leaders publicly acknowledge the need to work on additional registration AND turnout.

Primary rules frustrate some voters

Source: Ross Adams, WAPT

An interesting piece from WAPT News in Jackson, Mississippi describing how the primary system is frustrating voters who would prefer to split their votes, depending on the race, between Democrats and Republicans instead of being forced to choose one or the other straight ballot. I suggest both watching the video and reading the accompanying piece.

My Take:  Well, yeah, this is what people are complaining about–why there are numerous efforts all over the country to move towards some sort of open primary, some partisan, most non-partisan.  One guy calls it “un-American” and a representative of the Democratic Party believes the problem is that only in the past few years has anyone run as a Republican so people aren’t yet used to how the system works. Seriously?!

Low Voter Turnout Seen Among Fast Growing California Demographic Groups

Source: Nadine Ono, Fox and Hounds Daily

Reprinted from the California Forward website, this article appeared in Fox and Hound. It’s an insightful piece concerning Latinos and Asian-Americans that for once gets to the heart of the matter, turnout, rather than simply complaining about access to voter registration–though it is mentioned and is an important component.

My Take: The bottom line is that amongst these two groups, less than one in five registered voters are actually turning out, the fear being that their historic under-representation will be perpetuated for some time. These groups are also increasingly registering as No Party Preference which takes them out of party GOTV efforts. This is going to be a huge issue in the upcoming election cycles as turnout proponents, including the parties, are going to have to figure out how to reach NPP voters if they want this ever increasing portion of the vote.  The article also promotes the upcoming Top-Two Summit taking place in Sacramento on August 19, co-hosted by CA Fwd and the Independent Voter Project.

Image: yorkblog