Last week we had another meeting of "Independent Voters" here in central Arkansas. We had great discussions over McAlister's sweet tea. A very enthusiastic independent who is campaigning for Ralph Nader dropped in, and he added much needed ideas for the future of our organization.
Some ideas that came out of the meeting: We will start putting together an agenda to bring before the new Presidential Administration as well as the state legislature this Spring, which would include ballot access, voter registration, and open debates . None of us are shy about writing "letters to the editor", so that will be coming soon. We also would like to start working with other groups who are pushed outside of the two-party process here in Arkansas. By reaching out to the libertarians, green party, and others, we are hoping to form a "Ballot Access Coalition" for the future. We think that by joining together, we will make a bigger impact on the process and get the message out more clearly that voters DO (and should always) have more choices. Independents are the perfect group to lead a non-partisan push for more open access to the political process.
There were more detailed discussions, but I'll save you the time reading them and encourage you to contact us for more info. Although, I do want to mention that our voter registration drive on Sept. 27th went great. We had about 30 people fill out registration applications, got a few individuals signed up on our e-mail list, and handed out more than 100 "Voter 101" booklets, and informational pamphlets, cards, and flyers. Lots of people stopped by to ask questions or thank us for what we were doing. It was a very satisfying day.
We are really excited that there are some independents (and a couple of green party candidates) running for the state legislature this year. We are also hopeful that this presidential election cycle and the economic crisis is helping to get more people interested in their government and politics. Maybe when the nation really hears the wake-up call, people will start to realize that there are more than two sides to the story.