Why nonpartisan election administration might not be the norm

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“Election Administration In America – Partisan by Design,” is a recently released report from the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy at ASU and Open Primaries, a national election reform organization. It indicates electoral codes in the United States are rife with rules for how the two major parties – Republican and Democratic – prioritize their power at the exclusion of everyone else.

Prof. Thom Reilly, co-director of the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy, and Jeremy Gruber, Sr. VP of Open Primaries, explain how nonpartisan election administration may not be common for people in America.

The election administration system in the United States has been partisan for years. This system seemed to work in the past when citizens were all registered simply as Republicans or Democrats. In the present we see an increase in polarization. A large amount of individuals are no longer registered as the partisan parties, but as independent instead. According to Reilly this is “creating some real vulnerabilities in the election administration system.”

Gruber expressed that after looking at the results of their study, they were quite shocked. “At every turn, at every point in the electoral code of the thirty states we looked at, including Arizona, we found independence treated as second class citizens,” Gruber said. “They can’t serve on election boards, as election judges, as poll workers. The parties are privileged in getting voter registration data and how voter registration cards are done. Every aspect of the publics interaction with the administration of our election system, independence and anyone other than registered Democrat or Republican are shut out of the system.”

According to Gruber, independence is now the largest or second largest group of voters in almost every state, therefore it is hard to follow up an electoral system that was created without the existence of this group in mind.

Prof. Thom Reilly, co-director of the Center for an Independent and Sustainable Democracy; Jeremy Gruber, Sr. VP of Open Primaries

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