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Government and Politics

Independent voters plan to protest Ohio's closed primaries
Independent Ohio is working toward an alternative, nonpartisan primaries

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Cynthia Carpathios of Canton heads a group of indpendent voters in Ohio who want to stay that way, but participate in primaries.
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In The Region:

Fewer than 2 million of Ohio’s nearly 8 million registered voters are expected to cast ballots in tomorrow’s primary election. And many of those who do get ballots will find just issues -- no candidates’ names -- on them. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with the head of a new organization Ohio voters pushing to change that.

LISTEN: A Q and A on independent voters

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Technically, Ohio has no independent voters. It has nonpartisan voters – people who have never asked for a party ballot in a primary and are content in those spring elections to vote only on issues.
Once they pull a Democratic or Republican ballot, they belong to that party. 

Cynthia Capathios moved to Canton from New York by way of California. She now heads a group called Independent Ohio and she says she got involved because she was tired of being left out says she isn’t willing to sign up and is tired of feeling left out. 

“It wasn’t that I was a little bit of one and a little bit of another. It wsa more that they really fully didn’t represent me, and I felt that we needed to do something different, something new.” 

Top-two option
So what’s she looking for?

 “A different of a system that isn’t so overwhelmingly dictated by the parties. We’re not against parties and we’re not against people being in the parties but against them being the arbitrators and being able to run the show. The political power is more in their hands than in the hands of the voters.” 

She says that would include an open, nonpartisan primary, in which the top two vote-getters have a runoff.

“That would be really opening up the field.”

She acknowledges Ohio’s lawmakers may not be receptive so, “I think this could come to a referendum in Ohio and voters could vote it in. Actually how it happened in California.” 

Awareness first
But she’s not passing petitions yet. 

“I don’t think that enough people know about it yet. I think we need to bring more awareness to it, so when we do get to that point, the people will understand it better and won’t be scared off of it, because I do think that the powers that are in place right now aren’t going to be thrilled by having it changed.” 

Part of that awareness is informational picketing the group has planned for the Ohio Secretary of State’s office tomorrow, primary election day.

“The secretary of state is the one who has a lot of power over the elections and so … we are working to make ourselves visible to him, to our legislators, to all voters. 

“I think independents are a big part of our voters. Nationally, 42 percent identify as independent, according to a Gallup Poll that was done in January 2014. At the last gubernatorial election, 68 percent of the voters in Ohio were unaffiliated.

"These are huge numbers. And we are kind of invisible.”

Independent Ohio is affiliated with a national organization called 

Listener Comments:

Would like to get involved.

Posted by: Elaine Howett (Hilliard, OH) on May 6, 2014 1:05AM
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