Independent voters excluded from upcoming primary election

Posted at: 04/28/2014 6:55 PM
Updated at: 04/28/2014 8:30 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Don't look now, but there's an election sneaking up on us – an election in which thousands of New Mexicans won't be allowed to vote, even though they're registered and their tax dollars are helping to pay for the whole thing.

They are independent voters, and the June 3 election is a primary for the two major political parties: Democrats and Republicans. If you choose none of the above, you don't get to vote, even though you're helping to pay the bills!

In the primary election four years ago, a whopping 28 percent of the eligible Republicans and Democrats turned out to cast ballots. The cost of this year's primary will be about $3.1 million taxpayer dollars – but only R's and D's will get to vote.

"I personally myself think everybody should be able to vote," said voter China Holley. "That's the way I feel about it, no matter what party. This is supposed be the United States!"

In fact, independents are the fastest-growing group of voters in New Mexico, making huge gains over the last twenty years--from 6.6 percent of the eligible voters in 1994 to 13 percent ten years later to 19 percent today. That's an increase of just over 45,000 voters to nearly a quarter of a million.

Put it into perspective with the big boys:  New Mexico Democrats have 597,181 voters right now. Republicans number 398,266. Independents have 239,151 voters.

Of course the real majority party in the June primary will be the voters who can vote, but won't.

"I actually don't know anything about it," said Jens Lorenz, a relatively new U.S. citizen. "I have only voted once. I am German origin but I voted once in the presidential election."

Jens will have plenty of company on June 3, and whether you plan to vote or not, consider this: A brand new Rasmussen Reports poll shows 53 percent of American voters think the two major parties do not represent the American people! Only 28 percent disagree, with 19 percent not sure. 53 percent!