By Phoebe Weinstein
New York City, New York
Independent voters deserve a voice in this country, as does every citizen. The two-party system is deeply flawed. Why, then, do independent voters not get a vote in primary elections?
Open primaries – in which everyone may vote for candidates in any party – may be the future for our democracy. These primaries would provide a voice for independent voters and perhaps make our elections fairer overall. In states like New York, for example, which vote heavily Democrat, Republican votes for mayor are essentially empty – the mayor-elect is essentially chosen in the Democratic primary before the official election. The same occurs in states that vote overwhelmingly red, erasing the voices of blue voters.This would change the status of independent voters. Primaries are important elections that have long silenced the voices of non-party-affiliated Americans. As we have seen over the past few years especially, the two-party system is dividing far more than unifying us. The chance to erase some of that rigidity while simultaneously giving more power to the citizens’ votes is both necessary and more democratic.
The individual vote is a fundamental part of American freedom. We cannot continue to deny that right to anyone on the basis of a two-party system that has caused division, fraud, and harm. The system is a route to heavily funded and generally entrenched power, resisting change and enabling big businesses to hedge bets against unforeseen checks or controls. True representation is only possible when every American has the right to vote.