President Obama’s newly appointed Commission on Election Administration has begun holding public hearings around the country. The 10 member body is tasked with presenting recommendations to the president about how to “improve the voting experience.” Independent voters have a lot to say on this topic.
Representatives of independent voter groups in Virginia, New York and Florida attended hearings in DC and Miami and submitted testimony. Other local independent voter groups including mine, Independent Voters of Nevada (IVON), who are under the umbrella of IndependentVoting.org (a national association for independent voters), will be attending the hearings scheduled for Denver (8/8), Philadelphia (9/4) and Ohio (9/20).
Independents are deeply concerned that America’s political process is in a crisis and agree this deserves serious attention. But the Commission has already carved out a narrow mandate that falls short of the public debate we need to have.
For example, there are specific defects that affect independent voters which the Commission doesn’t seem prepared to address. With 40 percent of Americans now identifying as independent, this should be a Commission priority!
Independents have been saying for years that reform won’t come from the political parties themselves (they have too much to lose) but from outside of it and from the bottom up. Exposing the barriers independents face to fully participating in the elections process is our focus for the next few months. We invite you to join us.
Catana L Barnes,
President, Independent Voters of Nevada, Reno