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South Dakota League of Women Voters, AARP Say Nonpartisan Elections Are Best for All Voters

Posted by jesse shayne on September 13, 2016 at 5:33 PM

This article was written by Shawn Griffiths for the Independent Voter Network

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Amendment V Nonpartisan Elections in South Dakota received two major endorsements Tuesday. The South Dakota League of Women Voters and AARP South Dakota announced their support for Amendment V, citing the 115,000 independent voters who are largely excluded from the current system. Both organizations say nonpartisan election reform is best for all voters.

“The South Dakota League of Women Voters has long worked to expand participatory democracy,” said League of Women Voters Spokesperson Amy Scott Stoltz. “Our core focus is ensuring all South Dakotans have a direct voice in choosing their elected representatives. Amendment V – Nonpartisan Elections gives every South Dakota voter that voice.”

“AARP South Dakota is focused on providing tangible benefits for our members. Passing Amendment V will provide a benefit that, in reality, is a fundamental American right – the ability to fully participate in our elections. Passing Amendment V will give more than 115,000 South Dakota Independents equal access to the electoral process,” said AARP South Dakota State Director Erik Gaikowski.

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Schwarzenegger joins calls for Johnson to be included in presidential debates

Posted by jesse shayne on September 10, 2016 at 9:33 AM

This article was written for the Wire Update

Actor and former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has joined calls for Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson to be included in the upcoming debates, saying the country benefits from an open conversation.

"The American people want to hear the voices of Governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld in the debates this fall," Schwarzenegger said in a Facebook post. He cited a recent USA Today poll that indicated that as many as 76 percent of voters want third-party candidates to be included in the debates.

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Why the Voter Rebellion is Alive and Being Led … by South Dakota!

Posted by jesse shayne on September 07, 2016 at 11:13 AM

This article was written by Open Primaries Director of National Outreach Jason Olson for the Independent Voter Network

While no longer operative in the presidential election, the voter rebellion witnessed during the primaries is alive and well. South Dakota is now the epicenter, where Amendment V for Nonpartisan Elections gives voters the chance to reclaim their elections from the political establishment and send a message to Washington.

To many around the country, South Dakota would seem an unlikely place to be leading the voter rebellion. But the state best known for Mount Rushmore has a famous and historic independent streak: in 1898 it was the first state to pass the voter initiative process, helping to begin the Progressive Movement where women finally won the right to vote, and voters passed a series of reforms aimed at taking away power from the party establishment, including the initiative, referendum, recall, and nonpartisan local elections.

This year, South Dakota voters have an opportunity to remake the state’s partisan primary system. Like many states, South Dakota currently has closed partisan primaries that nominate candidates loyal to the Republican and Democratic parties. Amendment V for Nonpartisan Elections, on the November ballot, would replace that with a nonpartisan election system that allows all voters to participate and elect public servants rather than party servants.

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Editorial: Colorado politics as usual

Posted by jesse shayne on September 06, 2016 at 12:20 PM

This editorial was written by Dave Krieger and represents the views of the Colorado Daily Camera editorial board

Colorado lawmakers from both parties "made substantial edits" last week to descriptions in the state's official voter guide of two ballot measures to create open political primaries, according to the Denver Post.

Those edits replaced language crafted by nonpartisan staff in consultation with proponents and opponents of the measures — the usual method —with language backed by members of the two major political parties that turned the description negative.

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POINT: Open primaries are most inclusive

Posted by jesse shayne on September 01, 2016 at 12:17 PM

This article was written by Halley Schlemmer for The Daily Nebraskan

Inclusion and fairness are essential to a vibrant democracy. Proper governance and representation is impossible when institutions exclude specific groups of people and stifle particular ideas. Today in Nebraska thousands of independent voters are denied full access to the political process. As many of you are surely aware, Nebraska elections are conducted in two stages: the primary and the general. I want to talk to you about primaries, specifically open primaries in statewide elections. A top two open primary ensures inclusion and fairness, and should be utilized at all levels of state governance.

Traditionally, an open primary allows a voter to choose which partisan primary he or she wants to participate in. This is different than a top-two open primary. Similar to California’s top two open primary, every registered voter would receive the same ballot, with the same list of candidates.

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YOURS: Amendment V gives everyone a vote

Posted by jesse shayne on August 27, 2016 at 11:06 AM

This article was written by Stanford Adelstein for the Rapid City Journal

Today, I am announcing my endorsement of Amendment V — nonpartisan elections — on the Nov. 8 ballot. My reasons are simple and grounded in the basic fundamental freedoms we hold dear: that every voter, including 115,000 independents in South Dakota, should be able to cast a meaningful vote for their elected officials; and that those elected officials be public servants, not party servants. How I arrived at my support for Amendment V, however, may surprise you.

When the draft Amendment V was first presented, my preference was an initiated state statute rather than a constitutional amendment.

There was no doubt that something had to be done. We could not continue having 115,000 independents have no say in the choice of final candidates to govern our state. Eighty percent of our elections are effectively decided in the primary. Because of closed primaries in the dominant party, only a small percentage of voters were deciding who would run for the Legislature.

That meant that many excellent candidates would not run at all, knowing there was no chance for election unless they were part of the small “club” active in the majority party. An even smaller percentage of voters make decisions on who would be the candidate for constitutional offices at party conventions.

But, what to do.

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