Over 23.5 Million Independent Voters Are Disenfranchised in 2024 Primaries, Study Finds

Created: 13 February, 2024
2 min read

Photo Credit: Allison Saeng / Unsplash


As the US kicks off the 2024 presidential election cycle, more than 23.5 million registered independent voters find themselves sidelined by closed presidential primaries in 22 states, a recent report from the Unite America Institute reveals. This includes 3 million independents in Arizona, Nevada, and Pennsylvania -- crucial swing states in the race for the White House.

The report underscores a significant increase in voters who choose not to align with the Republican and Democratic Parties -- up 20% since 2010. Responding to this growing disenfranchisement, Open Primaries, in collaboration with Unite America, is launching the LetUsVote campaign. This initiative aims to mobilize independent voters in support of primary reform -- especially in states with active open or nonpartisan campaigns.

The report also highlights diversity that exists within the independent bloc. Nearly half of the "Excluded Independents" identify as "pure independents," while 27% tend to lean Democrat in elections that give them only two options and 25% lean Republican. Independent voters are disproportionately young and are more likely to be veterans.

“Both political parties are telling voters who fought for our country and voters who are the future of our country that their voices do not matter,” said Nick Troiano, Executive Director of Unite America and author of the forthcoming book The Primary Solution. “Every eligible voter should have the right to participate in every taxpayer-funded election, regardless of political affiliation.”

At the center of Unite America's report is a first-of-its-kind poll conducted by Change Research which provides insights into the diverse political perspectives and demographic composition of "Excluded Independents." It reveals that an overwhelming majority of these independents, 82%, desire a say in the 2024 presidential primary, with 74% considering their exclusion a violation of voting rights.

Despite widespread disillusionment with American politics, Excluded Independents express a desire for full participation in elections and support various election reforms. Over 80% express a desire to vote in Democratic or Republican primaries for the 2024 presidential election, while 87% support opening primaries to independent voters.

Similarly, 81% endorse nonpartisan primaries in order to facilitate a more inclusive electoral process.

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John Opdycke, president of Open Primaries, highlights the disparity between the numerical strength of independent voters and their limited influence in shaping the political narrative dominated by partisan politics -- and this is where initiatives like LetUsVote come into action. 

“Independent voters don’t get much respect,” said Opdycke. “We have the numbers, but not the narrative — partisan politics dominates. LetUsVote hopes to change that.”

Independent voters demand inclusion and are ready to assert their political influence in shaping the future of American democracy. By championing primary reform and advocating for a more inclusive electoral process, LetUsVote and campaigns like it aim to ensure that every eligible voter's voice is heard and valued in the democratic process.

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