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Should primaries be open to Independents?

Oklahoma United for Progress billboard (Courtesy, Oklahoma United for Progress){p}{/p}
Oklahoma United for Progress billboard (Courtesy, Oklahoma United for Progress)

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"We want to improve voter participation in Oklahoma," said Margaret Kobos of Oklahoma United for Progress.

When she saw the data on voter turnout in Oklahoma, she was not happy.

"When we saw that Oklahoma is last in eligible voter participation every single cycle in the country, always last," she said.

So to try to change that she's about to launch a campaign to open up primaries to Independents.

"Right now, we have 20% of our registered voters as Independents," she said.

"I don’t know that it changes anything for us," said Alicia Andrews, Chairwoman of the Oklahoma Democratic Party.

That's because the Democrats have already opened up their primaries to Independents. Started three years ago. Have they noticed any change?

"I haven’t, but what that also means, cause it’s been going on since before I got there, what that means is there hasn’t been a drop off in participation from Independents. Independents want to be a part of the conversation," she said.

Meanwhile, over on the Republican side...

"No-go," said Ronda Vuillemont-Smith, Chairwoman of the Tulsa County Republican Party. She says being an Independent comes with consequences.

"I understand why people want to be Independent, I get it, but at the same time when it comes to primaries if you want to vote in a Republican primary we want you to be a Republican," she said.

"Let the Independents vote, let all voters vote in the primary," said Kobos.

Thursday, Oklahoma United will launch its campaign, complete with bumper stickers, and lollipops. and a moving billboard that reads "Oklahoma, you're on mute."

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"I think that if we just open up the system good people will come forward and we’ll have better choices," said Kobos.


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