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Harry Kresky: An Independent Hero

Harry Kresky
Author: Chad Peace
Created: 18 March, 2024
2 min read

The independent reform movement has lost a champion, but his work is sure to live on. Harry Kresky, a renowned election law and civil rights attorney, author, poet, and activist passed away on March 11 at the age of 79.

 

Can we do it

Without knowing how?

Without any assurances of success

Or even recognition?” - From A Better World, a poem by Harry Kresky, March 2023

 

Harry is survived by his wife, Cathy Stewart, who he worked with in the pursuit of equal rights for independent voters and candidates, as well as family, friends, and colleagues close to him and who knew him well.

He is also survived by a legacy that will continue on long after his passing – a legacy that blazed a path for an independent reform movement that is growing by leaps and bounds and provided a framework for its future.

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Harry had been an outspoken and vehement champion for civil rights since the 1960s. He was sought-after for his expertise and passion in the fight for underrepresented and marginalized groups, including independent and third-party voters and candidates.

Learn more about Harry’s life by reading his full obituary. 

The independent reform movement would not look the same today without Harry. He fought for the rights of independent voters and candidates inside and outside the courtroom, with his legal prowess and his writing talent.

He defeated an attempt to close primary elections in South Carolina, fought for open primaries in New York, and offered his expertise to groups like Independent Voter Project and Open Primaries in their own legal battles to end independent voter suppression.

Harry was the person Michael Bloomberg turned to in his effort to make New York City elections nonpartisan. He worked with the first Black and woman presidential candidate to gain ballot access in all 50 states, Dr. Lenora Fulani, who ran as an independent candidate.

READ: A Poet’s Journey, by Harry Kresky

His influence, mentorship, and guidance can be seen in court cases from California to New Mexico to New Jersey. His impact is present in every victory for nonpartisan political reform in the US – from primary reform to voting rights to gerrymandering. 

He authored legal journals, essays, and opinion pieces that changed the way people look at fair and equal elections in the US, including a groundbreaking paper in the 2019 Touro Law Review with Michael Hardy and Jeremy Gruber titled, “Let All Voters Vote: Independents and the Expansion of Voting Rights in the United States.”

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Harry’s storied life and work was and continues to be meaningful to the next generation of leaders and activists who look at voting rights through the lens of voters, all of them as equal individuals. 

And most importantly, for those of us who were lucky enough to know Harry, blessed enough to learn from him, or fortunate enough to work with him -- his legacy will live on in the hearts, writings, and successes of many more to come.

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