Independents Finding Allies

Today, the Omaha World-Herald ran an editorial that I wrote with Jane Kleeb, the Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party in which we argue that the Democratic Party should change their rules to make sure independent voters are included in the primaries, including the presidential primaries next year.

Jane Kleeb
DP State Chair, NE
Cathy Stewart
VP of Development, Independent Voting


Jane and I met earlier this spring when I reached out to talk with her about her party’s decision to open the presidential primaries to independents and to make the primary binding (ending their caucus system).

Jane has become a valuable ally and leader in the Democratic Party and someone that I regularly go to for her counsel and advice. We decided to write the editorial together to share our collaboration and views on one of the most critical democracy issues today.

“One of us (Kleeb) believes that the Democratic Party benefits by the inclusion of independent voters – now 21% of the Nebraska electorate – and recognizes that independents have personal reasons why they do not affiliate with a party and also understands that by embracing independents some may change their view of the Democratic Party. The other (Stewart) believes that no American should be forced to join a political party in order to be able to vote and recognizes that independent voters, now the fastest growing community of voters in the country, are a new force for revitalizing our democracy. Based on these beliefs, we have found a common cause…at the core of our shared message. Change the rules. Open the process. Put democracy and people at the heart of our elections. ”

Jane has become an outspoken partner for us in the effort to open the primaries.  In addition to encouraging Chairman Perez to meet with leaders of Independent Voting, she has also sent a letter to the entire Maine legislature encouraging them to pass LD 211 to open Maine’s closed primaries. In her letter she writes, “By welcoming independents into our party [the Democratic Party], we strengthen our party.”

Your support makes it possible for us to expand our outreach and to meet and develop partnerships and allies in our effort to make sure every American can vote in next year’s presidential primaries.

I want to ask you to make a special gift today of $10 to continue to fuel our Eyes on 2020 campaign.  Visit our donation page and help us continue this fight.

Cathy Stewart