Independents critical to elections; fighting for inclusion

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By Carol A. Clark

There are more than 50 third party groups registered in the United States. Independents number in the millions.

Their percentage has grown substantially in recent years and in some states, such as New Jersey, the actual registration of non-partisans now exceeds Democrats or Republicans, according to Colliers website.

More major party members are moving to independent status. Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman switched from Democrat to independent in 2006 and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg changed his party affiliation from Republican to independent last year.

Local resident Michael Wismer switched from Republican to Independent in 2005 while serving on council. He is the sole independent candidate running for local office in this election cycle.

“Independent voters, those not bound by or committed to a political party represent an emerging development in current voting trends,” Wismer said. “In fact, this is an exciting time and a challenging time for Independent voters and for the Independent movement.”

Independents now measure 40 percent of the electorate, he said, with polls showing 41 percent of college students consider themselves indies as do 35 percent of African Americans under the age of 30.

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