All voters

Dear Editor:
I’ve been a voter for over 56 years and am one of the 2.6 million New Jersey voters who have chosen not to affiliate with a political party. We make up 48 percent of the NJ electorate – significantly more than the 2 major parties with Democrats comprising 32 percent and Republicans 20 percent. Independents are deeply passionate about the future of this state and the country and want to be able to participate in this primary election as who they are—independents. But the state parties hold the authority to determine who can and can’t vote in presidential primaries. At the end of the day, over 30 million Americans will have been denied the right to participate in primaries because they were registered as independents. Democrats and Republicans assert they have freedom of association and that I have the option of changing my affiliation. But my tax dollars pay for these elections. Where’s the freedom in that?
In 2014, I joined 7 plaintiffs challenging the legality of excluding independents from the primaries. The case traveled the full road thru the New Jersey court system and is considered by independents to be so sound on its merits that other states, currently New Mexico, are using the lawsuit’s framework to launch similar challenges. Voters are expressing deep discontent with the political process this year. NJ Independent Voters (NJIV) is part of a national network of independents and an affiliate of We’re not building a third party, but a movement organizing for structural changes that will let all voters participate and remove the barriers that block popular democracy.

Mark Balsam

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