Senate panel approves bill to let independents vote in primary elections

February 02, 2011 | | Comments 25
State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon

State Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon

FRANKFORT – Registered independents would be allowed to vote in a party’s primary election under a bill the Senate State and Local Government approved Wednesday.

Senate Bill 41, sponsored by Sen. Jimmy Higdon, R-Lebanon, is similar to a measure the Senate passed last year but the House did not consider.

Higdon’s bill would require independents to register by Dec. 31 to vote in a primary held in the following May to pick party nominees.

Under his bill, the first time independents could vote in a primary would be May 2012, Higdon said.

There are about 190,000 registered independents in Kentucky.

“They really would like to participate in the election process,” Higdon said.

The Senate committee approved the bill on seven “yes” votes and two “passes.” It now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

–Jack Brammer

Filed Under: KY General Assembly

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  1. phyre says:

    Well if they want to participate in the election process, join a party.

  2. Warwick7th says:

    either join a party or run their own candidates. Doesn’t seem like they are disenfranchised so much as willfully playing outside the sandbox and then griping that there isn’t any sand.

  3. First Thank Jimmy Higdon, And Then Call Your Senator And Representative To Vote For Senate Bill 41, To Let Independents Vote In Kentucky’s Primaries.

    As for me, I can’t wait to see this bill become law.

  4. shockie says:

    the problem is the 2 party system . Let people register and vote as Independents!

  5. tafugate says:

    very odd. i don’t see anything wrong with independents voting in primaries, but i would think independents would tend to be liberal. strange a republican should support this bill.

  6. tommy crawdad says:

    I’m an independent, but this seems wrong to me. The primaries are for the parties to select a candidate for the general election, not for us independents. I agree with phyre, we should join a party if we want to be involved.

    tafugate – there are plenty of us CONSERVATIVE independents out here. The GOP stopped being conservative a long time ago.

  7. always vote says:

    Taxpayers of Kentucky are actually paying this guy Higdon for ideas like this.

    Why not let Democrats vote in Republican primaries as well?

    Why not let the Green Party members vote in the Democratic primary?

    Let’s also let the Libertarians vote in both.

    Dear Mr. Higdon, It’s called a party primary for a REASON.

  8. Richard says:

    Independents are people who can not commit. Pick a party. This is a stupid bill.

  9. Brad says:

    Better yet, change to an open primary so everyone can vote. Currently, Kentucky has a closed primary.

  10. jacounteveryvote says:

    192,000 people are registered as unaffiliated or independent in this state, they do not belong to a party. Why let them vote? Because they are paying for it too. The Ds and Rs have every right in the world to closed primaries however, if they want to keep tax paying citizens from voting, they should pay for those primaries themselves. Elections funded by the public should be open to the public. Every American has the right to vote. No individual should have to join a party, particularly if they do not agree with that party’s platform.

  11. jcon says:

    The primary elections are taxpayer funded and should never have been set up to exclude anyone by party affiliation. Each registered voter should have one vote to case either by voting by party affiliation (Registered Republicans can vote for only Republican primary Candidates, Registered Democrats can vote for only Democratic primary candidates) or if registered Independent the person should be able to choose from both parties candidates. This would keep Registered partisans from crossing over to support a weaker primary candidate while allowing Independents to vote. If this were the rule I believe a huge change of registration to Independent would occur which would be a good thing.

  12. Recovering Democrat says:

    If the DEMS & REPS want to have CLOSED PRIMARIES, fine:
    Let them PAY for it!

    As long as TAX MONEY pays for primaries in KENTUCKY, then Primaries have to become OPEN.

  13. I am an Independent says:

    For the record, being an Independent registered voter one chooses deliberately NOT to have a party affiliation. Most independents do not want to be affiliated with a party.

    Want to see a former governor of Kentucky make himself (and his party) look like a donkey?
    Just watch this short 3 min video:

  14. Gwen says:

    Supporting open primaries is a no-brainer – One wonders why even the partisans would want to clutch tightly to a sinking ship – It’s time to open up the process and allow for new and creative ways of doing politics. Congratulations to Independent Kentucky for leading the way in this very important fight.

  15. MIke D says:

    In this new political arena, most voters are looking at the value of the candidate, not the party. But I agree there are changes to be made for the CA Top Two. Here are my changes:

    How it Could Be Run

    To create a system to answer all the Supreme Court issues, I would create a system with these features:

    1. All Candidates selected by their parties paid for system, ballot accepted new minor party candidates, independents, and write-ins are on one ballot.

    2. There is two boxes. One optionally indicates the Candidates registered party. The other optionally indicates all endorsements.

    3. The Top Two go on to the General Election.

    A possible additional element could be IRV. This would allow the first selection of a favorite son or daughter, vanity candidate, etc. I also do not like the 50% + 1 concept. Top Two means Top Two.

  16. Love what you guys are doing. You do know the importance of a primary. In South Carolina we are a bit more greedy. We want our own political party to be open. Good Luck.

  17. Tami says:

    I am a registered independent. I made the decision to be an independent when I first was able to vote which has been MANY years ago now. That decision was made because I did not, and do not subscribe to what has traditionally been democratic or republican views. It seems unrealistic to me that some people could think that of all the people in our United States, that there are only TWO political views to choose from and if you do not fall into one of those categories…..your right to vote in some elections should be taken away. That is simply not right, fair, or representative of freedom.

    We have an amazing country filled with wonderful, intelligent people. It is my opinion that the two party system has not been viable for a long while. It is long past time to make some changes.
    I suppot the bill and thanks to those who have worked to make it happen.

  18. Jeff Fletcher says:

    As an Independent, I feel that both of the major parties in this nation are out of touch with what the people want. I believe that as a group, Independents believe that neither party has the entire answer to solve any of the major issues that our nation currently face but, we need solutions that consist of a balanced approach in most instances in order to put this nation back on track on a global basis. I do not believe that it is possible with the major parties at this time by themselves to solve our problems. After all, how many years have the both run things?

  19. Hugh says:

    The political base comes out for party primaries and these voters have tended over recent years to move more and more to the outer fringe of each party. As a result we get people to vote for in November dedicated to extreme positions (both liberal and conservative). We need a better balance and letting independents vote will help give us that.

  20. westerner says:

    Brad is correct, there can be no in between. we currently have a closed primary, the only other option is an Open primary which allows everyone to vote for anyone….. not the intent of a primary which is to allow voters of that party to select that parties candidate.

  21. westerner says:

    for those who are independents and think this bill will eliminate the 2 party system it doesn’t, it just allows them to be part of it. The current system allows for more than 2 candidates (GATEWOOD), there’s nothing broke here just the dumbest legislator up there wanting to be seen.

  22. Tapioca says:

    Let independents vote too. Democrats have more guts than brains while Republicans have more brains than guts. Independents can balance this out.

  23. Buck Feshear says:

    This is a stupid idea. The purpose of a primary is to allow political parties to nominate their candidates. People who do not belong to a party should not be allowed to have a say in who the party’s candidate is. Independents get to file and run outside the party nomination process, and they have until later in the year to do it, too.

    Besides, there are more parties than Democrats and Republicans. Primary elections aren’t limited to just those two organizations. If two members of the Libertarian Party filed for office, there would be a primary for that party as well.

  24. Mike says:

    @ Buck, you are really off base. Libertarians would never have a primary, they have a convention and select their own candiadtes. They do not use tax payers money to pay for their system!

    I Support this bill!

  25. Ken says:

    Each party has some good sides and some bad sides. Independents do not like the idea of telling any party that they are behind them, all the way, right or wrong. Independents are not enablers who encourage the evil-doers with their votes so they can keep doing the wrong things.

    We believe that the reason Independents are the fastest growing voting group shows that the people are getting sick and tired of samo-samo and are ready for a meaningful change.

    Think about it — why else do you think so many voters are dropping out of the lame-stream and becoming registered Independents — It’s because they can think for themselves and are ready to straighten out the mess both parties are making of our great country.

    Republicans now have a split in their own party with the advent of the tea-partyers and their far-out ideas. That has to show you something ……..