Local political activists discuss role of independent voters

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By Tim McNicholas


Updated: Mon, 13 Jan 2014 09:56:42 CST

You might expect everyone at a Nebraska democrats meeting to be pretty like–minded...


But at their most recent gathering, the group was divided.

The source of the conflict—

Legislative Bill 773...

Which would give registered independents the right to vote in state and local primaries.

Rich Maciejewski is the vice chair of the Hall County Democrats...

But there was a time when he didn't affiliate with either major party.

"As an independent you don't have a chance in the primary election," he said. 

He's hesitant to support L–B 773 because it could work against his party in a conservative state.

This isn't the first time this issue has come up...

But local Maciejewski say it's more important now. 

"We see a lot of people who are so disgusted with politics that they don't want to be associated with any party," he siad. 

The Hall County Republicans Chair doesn't see any more or less traction this time around. 

In heavily conservative areas of Nebraska, the real political hurdle is the Republican primary...

Independents have little to no say in those elections.

"They can have a say in that primary by going down to the local election office and changing their affiliation from Independent to Republican," Hall County Republicans Chair Marty Klein said. 

Klein feels it should be up to Republicans to decide who represents the Republican Party.

But he says it has come up at recent Hall County Republican meetings as well.

And Maciejewski has no doubt that the issue will come up again.

L–B 773 was introduced on Thursday by Republican Senator Al Davis.

Part of the appeal is improving voter turnout in primary elections.

Independents make up about 20 percent of Nebraska's registered voters.