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Debriefing Democracy: 5 Takeaways in Nonpartisan News

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

Bernie Sanders supporters continue their fight against the Democratic National Committee, California lawmakers aren't addressing the real problem with presidential primaries, and an independent candidate emerges in Maine's gubernatorial race. All that and more this week in nonpartisan news.

1. DNC Again Defends Its Private Right to Cheat Bernie Sanders

One of the hottest stories this week came from the transcript in Wilding, et. al. v. DNC Services, d/b/a DNC and Deborah “Debbie” Wasserman Schultz. During oral argument last week, DNC attorneys defended the party's right as a private party to not follow its own rules.

"DNC lawyers have argued and continue to argue that the Democratic Party doesn’t owe anyone a fair process. It has every right to disregard its own rules or interpret its rules how it wants because it is a private organization, and therefore the plaintiffs have no standing. And that is the conundrum millions of American voters find themselves in today."

Read the full article here.

2. Independent Voter Project Opposes Ineffective CA Presidential Primary Reform

On Wednesday, April 26, representatives of the Independent Voter Project (IVP, a co-publisher of IVN) appeared in Sacramento to voice their opposition to Assembly Bill 837, which IVP argues does not actually address the problem with presidential primaries in California; namely, that they do not follow the California State Constitution.

"Since 2001, California has held what the secretary of state’s website calls a “modified closed primary” in which voters who have not registered with a party (“no party preference” or “NPP” voters) can participate only in the primaries of parties that have decided to allow non-members to participate. The process NPP voters have to undergo to participate in the modified closed primary is cumbersome and confusing. But even more concerning than its confusing nature is that holding a modified closed primary directly contradicts Article II, section 5 of the state constitution, which calls for an open presidential primary. An open primary is one in which all voters are allowed to vote for the candidate of their choice, regardless of party affiliation."

Read the full article here.

ALSO READ: California’s Presidential Primaries are Blatantly Unconstitutional

3. IVN Interview with Maine Independent Candidate Terry Hayes

Maine has been a hotbed for election and political reform over the last few years and has one of only two independent U.S. senators. Now, the state's independent treasurer, Terry Hayes, is running for Governor Paul LePage's seat.

“I care about what is in the best interest of our state and its people. This is just the start of an eighteen month job interview with Maine voters. Together, we can move Maine beyond the divisive partisan politics that are holding us back.” - Terry Hayes

Check out the full interview here.

ALSO READ: Maine Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument on Ranked Choice Voting

Survey: Maine Voters Want Elections that Serve Voters First, Not Parties

4. Alaska Nonpartisan Elections Bill Gains New Sponsors

Alaska HB200, which would implement a nonpartisan, top-two primary in the state, has gained two sponsors, Democrat Adam Wool and independent Daniel Ortiz. The bill passed through the House Judiciary Committee on April 19, and was referred to House State Affairs. A hearing was held on May 2.

READ MORE: Alaska Becomes Battleground for Open Primaries with HB200

5. Centrist Project Highlights Leading Independent-Minded Politicians in US

This week, the Centrist Project published a page on their website featuring lawmakers and politicians across the country the group believes represent the growing independent movement nationwide. The names include independent U.S. Sen. Angus King (Maine), Alaska Governor Bill Walker, Nevada State Senator Patricia Farley, and others.

Check out the full list and brief videos highlighting what makes these leaders independent here.

ALSO READ: Independents Are Ready to #HackTheSenate in 2018

IVN PODCAST: The Centrist Project to #HackTheSenate for Independents

Photo Credit: vchal /

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