Letter to Gov William Weld

Dear Mr. Weld,

I am the chair of VIVA, Virginia Independent Voters Association, and a leader with Independent Voting, the largest organization of independent voters in the country.  I applaud your courageous and timely decision to enter the Republican Presidential Primary race.  We see unique opportunities to collaborate on election reform issues and hope you are willing to meet with Independent Voting’s President, Jackie Salit, to discuss them.

Your record as a true Independent speaks for itself, but what really interests me about your campaign is your explicit reference to Independent votes in states where the GOP allows us to participate in their primaries because expanding the number of states with open primaries is our goal.  In the fall of 2018, Independent Voting launched Eyes on 2020, a campaign to accomplish just that. I serve on the campaign’s cabinet.

Jackie Salit recently wrote Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez asking him to endorse opening his party’s primaries in states where they are still closed.  Almost 1000 Independent activists from all 50 states signed that letter.  In parallel with our contacts at the national level, we are contacting the chairmen of both parties in all closed primary states.  Our strategy is to appeal to all (challenger) candidates’ interest in expanding the voter pool beyond committed partisans – the “opening” you referred to in the Bloomberg Television interview.

While we do not expect Democrats in every state to welcome Independents, we do believe they will seriously consider the option.  It is far less likely that Republicans will like the idea, but together we may be able to help them see that this election is about far more than keeping or installing a party member in the White House; it’s about restoring Americans’ faith in our electoral system.  Framed this way, Republicans have far more at stake.  With or without open primaries, the Democrats are giving voice to anti-Trump sentiment and there is plenty of competition.  Closed Republican primaries will only confirm all but the most loyal GOP voters’ suspicions that the party has sold its soul.

Please reply to me at [email protected] or 202-693-7122 (work phone) with an indication of your availability to discuss this further with Jackie and me.  Thank you!


Steve Richardson
Independent Voting “Eyes on 2020” Cabinet