Independence Party News

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Updated September 2, 2004

Independents May Vote In Local Primary This Year, Court Says -
September 1, 2004 - A federal judge upheld the right of "blank" voters to vote in the September 14, 2004 primary. Click here for details.

Charles Schumer Nominated for Senate -
June 2004 - The State Committee has renominated Charles Schumer for U.S. Senate. He will not have a primary opponent. Click here for press release.

State Committee Meets -
September 14, 2003 - The State Committee conducted its regular fall meeting in Colonie, near Albany, where the general status of the party was discussed. For a complete report, click here.

IP Primaries Opened -
Feb. 1, 2003 - Independent (otherwise known as unenrolled or "blank") voters have now been invited to vote in any possible Independence Party primary for U.S. Senator in 2004.

The party's State Committee, meeting near Albany, reportedly voted by about 90% of the weighted vote to change the party rules to open up our statewide primaries to voters who are not members of any party. Although not permitted by state election law, similar laws in other states have been ruled unconstitutional. It's extremely unlikely the legislature will change the law, so a federal court case is expected.

The change does not specifically address local primaries, but there appears to be a consensus position among State Committee members and officers that organized counties can opt to open their primaries as well, and it is possible some will do so.

The idea was first proposed by upstate independent political activist Bill VanAllen last year, when it engendered some discussion among party members but was not brought up at the State Committee meetings before last year's primary. After the election, however, the proposal, limited to statewide candidates, was reintroduced by several members of the Executive Committee who control large blocks of votes, including party Chair Frank MacKay, virtually ensuring its passage.

In other action at the meeting, the State Committee reportedly voted to establish a Budget Committee to be chaired by the party's Treasurer.

Golisano Comes In Third -
Nov. 2002 - Tom Golisano won 14% of the general election vote, a strong showing for an independent gubernatorial candidate, retaining Row C for the Independence Party for the next four years.

Party Still Growing Fast -
The November 1, 2002 figures from the Board of Elections show the Independence Party continuing to grow at a rapid pace. There are now 257,281 party members, an increase of more than 46,000, or almost 22%, over the count from the previous year. This compares to an overall increase in registered voters of 1.9% during the same period. The Democrats grew by 2%, the Republicans by just 0.8%, and independents ("blanks") by 1.5%. The only party growing proportionally faster is the small Working Families Party, at 25.6%, but with 15,763 members they have only 6% of the enrollment of the Independence Party.

Some of the Independence Party's unusually strong increase in membership during this period was due to a voter registration drive conducted by the Pataki campaign before the primary in the hopes of signing up Pataki voters for that primary.

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