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.