Picket Seeks Non-partisan Primaries

May 6, 2014

A group of independent voters plans an informational picket outside the Secretary of State's office today as part of an effort to increase the role of nonpartisan voters in Ohio primary elections.

ML Schultze of member station WKSU in Kent reports.

To vote for candidates in an Ohio primary, voters must ask for a party ballot – usually Democrat or Republican. After that, they’re official members of those parties – until they ask for the other party’s ballot – thereby becoming official members of that party.
And if they don’t do any of that, their only choices in primary elections are for things like school levies and liquor options.

Cynthia Carpathios of Canton and her group, Independent Ohio, would like to see nonpartisan primaries, with the top two vote-getters facing off in the general election. She says it’s a matter of good-government, not just political theater.

“What structural changes could be helpful to independents and to our system? We have a system that is so overwhelmingly partisan that we have trouble passing laws, not just here in Ohio, I’m talking about our national system.”

Carpathios says the route to change primaries may have to be through a citizens’ referendum, rather than through state lawmakers. She acknowledges, though, the push may be a way off.