“Current election laws disenfranchise 230,000 Nebraska non-partisan voters who chose not to join a political party by preventing them from voting in and running as a candidate in most primary races. The choice for Nebraska voters is unfair: join a party or face limited access to the ballot box,” Jenkins said.
According to a recent Gallop survey, 42 percent of the respondents in the U.S. now identify as independent, far exceeding those identifying themselves as Republicans or Democrats. Official voter registration numbers show independents now comprise over 25 percent of the voters nationally and 20 percent in Nebraska.
“The Gallup survey and voter registration trends provide evidence that somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of the voting population would abandon the two major parties if election laws were changed to allow all voters to run for office and vote in every election,” Jenkins said.
“It is undemocratic for this large and rapidly growing segment of voters to be excluded from the primaries and the important task of selecting candidates for the general election. Parties have the right to exist, but not at the expense of their fellow citizens,” he said.
“The same non-partisan law that allows every Nebraska voter and candidate the right to participate in the primary election for the State Legislature could easily be applied to every other office in our state. Political parties would still have the freedom to advocate on behalf of their candidates and positions as will non-affiliated independents and other minor parties, but in the primary election the top two vote getters would go on to the general election.”
“Nebraska election laws clearly result in a loss of freedom for the rapidly growing number of voters who do not support either party. Not surprisingly, very few non-partisan voters (independents)
“The solution is straightforward:
“LB 773 by Sen. Al Davis, is a step in the right direction by allowing Independents to request party ballots for local and state elections (instead of just federal elections as is presently allowed). However, LB773 does not allow Independent candidates to run in the primaries, with the top two advancing regardless of party affiliation. LB773 should be amended so that Independents have the right to run in the Nebraska Primary Election just like the current system to elect our State Legislature.”
“It is time for America to return to its democratic roots and allow citizens to run on a non-partisan basis for all political offices. This will add much needed competition to a two party system. Open up all primary elections to any registered voter who wants to run and then, just as we do in Nebraska legislative races, allow the top two candidates to go to the general election.”
“Nebraska Independent voters deserve the same rights and privileges as voters in the two major political parties. The American political system needs more competition not less competition.”