Independent Party Dies in Maryland

Southern Maryland Newspapers Online reports:

Recognized by the state in August 2008, the Independent Party eclipsed 35,000 registered voters in May, according to statistics tallied by the state elections board. It’s unclear how many of those voters wished to be registered as unaffiliated with any political party and mistakenly marked “Independent” on voter registration forms.

The state board voted on June 3 to dissolve the Independent Party due to its dormant campaign finance account, leaving all those previously registered with the party free to change their registration to one of the five recognized political parties (Democratic, Republican, Green, Libertarian and Constitution) or do nothing and be classified as unaffiliated.

The basic story is that thousands of voters signed up to be Independent voters when they meant to be independent. The same story has played out in many other states. In California, some suspect thousands of the American Independent Party’s membership to be composed of voters who mistakenly believe they have no party affiliation. Similarly, the newly important Independent Party of Oregon has thousands of members, many of whom were likely unaware they were affiliating with a party when registering to vote (although many of these voters received mailers from candidates in the recent primary the Oregon Independent Party conducted). While luring voters in this manner boosts party membership on paper, it does little to help such minor parties at the polls.

10 thoughts on “Independent Party Dies in Maryland

  1. Sal Peralta

    The Independent Party of Oregon just completed the largest election ever held by a minor political party in Oregon. More than 2000 members voted for 86 candidates. We had 23 contested races and candidates from across the political spectrum competed for the party’s nomination.

    I don’t see how any of that is a bad thing. Gopd forbid that a minor political party should actually be taken seriously fpor s change.

  2. Sal Peralta

    To put the Independent Party of Oregon’s historic Internet primary — the first binding statewide primary election in the United States to be held entirely over the internet — into perspective, consider this:

    The 2,200 people who voted comprise 1% of the Oregon electorate. Our 2010 primary was easily the largest election ever held by an Oregon minor political party. It was the most inclusive primary election in Oregon history. involving 86 candidates and 23 contested races. Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, Greens, and none of the above competed on a ballot with one another.

    It is easily the most relevant primary election held by an Oregon minor party in more than 100 years. Outside of New York, it was arguably the most relevant minor party election in the country.

    The only people who believe that our process harms minor parties are people who believe that the only legitimate role for minor political parties are to nibble from the fringes.

  3. Vaughn

    It does make sense in states where the requirements to run as an independent are so high that you are better of having an “Independent Party”.

  4. Daniel Surman

    @Sal, I should clarify. The states where Independent or Independence parties have done best I don’t think have to do with the voter registration rolls necessarily but with fusion voting. So, in New York the Independence Party ballot race will routinely take 5-20% of the vote depending on the race, and win a few offices, and in Oregon you will likely see that start to happen too.

    You will notice other states do not do nearly as well with similar parties. The AIP in California will claim 1-2% of the vote generally statewide, although they have approached 5% in the past, and the AIP in Nevada is in a similar situation if with a little bit better numbers.

    However, that is not to say that the people who registered with the party on accident suddenly bring an influx of activism with them. While it is nice for a minor party to boast about, they essentially have to know that their operating strength is lower than what the papers seem to indicate.

  5. Andy

    Using the word “independent” in a party label is a great way to boost voter registration numbers because many people will check that box on their voter registration forms thinking that they are registering as independents and having no clue what the views of the party are, or even that it is a party.

  6. Northern Exposure

    The AIP now has 14,464 members. This is a gain of 135 members. This represents
    2.97% of total registered voters in Alaska.

    The Alaska Democrat Party gained 6 members.

    The Alaska Republican Party gained 664 members.

    The Alaska Libertarian Party LOST 75 members.

    The Alaska Green Political Group LOST 1 member.

    The Alaska Moderate Republican Political Group gained 7 members.

    The Alaska Veteran’s Political Group LOST 4 members.

  7. '..... the serious side of free speech ' [Lake]

    What is reporter Alan Blant’s view of ongoing legal problems of electronic communications with ‘tagging’ of print media? Especially with his employer having three different out lets?

    Inquiring minds ……….. remember that early radio shows [1930s] and embryonic television broadcasts [late 1940s] consisted of announcers merely picking up a news paper and reading print news stories, word for word.

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