New Mexico, my state of residence in the United States, is a closed primary state. During the primary I can only vote for candidates in the party in which I am registered.
I have usually registered Democrat because this makes the primary process on a state level far more valuable: I actually get a choice. The Republicans and the Green party, also active in this area, only manage to put one candidate on the ballot if that. On the national level I often want to vote in the Republican primary. This year I am not sure I want to vote in either. The wide open race seems to have shut down really fast.
But that aside I do get the opportunity to vote on Super Tuesday for my choices among those running for state and national office among the Democratic party. Then I will go and change my party affiliation to Independent.
I thought about changing to Independent earlier in this broken political process but it essentially disenfranchises me because New Mexico is a closed primary state. I would definitely like to change that to one which allows me to declare the party for which I want to participate as I prepare to vote: An Open Primary System. Until that happens I think I will just keep careful note of all the deadlines for changing my voter registration and go back and forth. Keeping up with a number of people doing this would definitely tax the state offices.
Lou Dobbs of CNN talks frequently about sending a message by changing to Independent. And there definitely does seem to be a growing number of people doing this. The political pundits even gave discussion time to how the Independents in Iowa and New Hampshire changed the nature of the caucus and primary there. But here we sit with only a small fraction of the primaries held and their delegates awarded and the news media are already declaring the winners.
Let me mention that if the vote in the general election in November 2008 comes down to a choice between McCain and Clinton I am leaning toward sending a real message by not voting for President. Since there is no None of the Above choice. I am so tired of voting for the least offensive of the candidates! I can only hope that somehow, someway, the country gets another choice. Or that the message out there is so strong that someone will actually run for office as an Independent. At this point I frankly don't care who. I just might vote for them solely to send a message.
I do hope our country has gotten the message that this time it better be an honest election. No computerized tinkering with the outcome. No hanging chads. If once again there is no paper trail or the electoral college vote runs counter to the popular vote than whether we are registered Democrats, Republicans, or Independents may well be a mute point.