Voting with an independent mind - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Voting with an independent mind

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Posted: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 7:49 am | Updated: 12:44 pm, Fri Sep 6, 2013.

I think I’m one of the few, if any, who actually enjoy getting political calls or knocks on my door.

I’m not a big fan of the recorded calls, but I like knowing a candidate is doing all they can to reach voters. I’m one of the voters the politicians all talk about convincing. I’m an Independent.

I registered as an Independent not because I don’t agree with either party, but because I often agree with both. I need both sides to explain the issues in detail before I can make up my mind. Then it’s just about choosing the candidate who I feel best represents me. That’s their job, isn’t it?

Of course choosing the best candidate, despite their political party, really becomes a problem during the primaries. So I was pretty interested when I heard about Proposition 121.

The goal of Prop. 121 is to encourage more moderate candidates to run for office and take a little bit of the power away from parties. It gives all candidates a more even playing field and the two candidates who get the most votes during the primary, no matter their party, go on to the general election.

I thought for sure, the one Independent candidate on the ballot in Ahwatukee Foothills would think Prop. 121 was a good idea, but to my surprise Brent Fine, who is running for Arizona State Legislature in LD 18, said he’s only half in favor of Prop. 121.

“The part that would equal the playing field for Independents, I totally agree with,” Fine said. “I’m not convinced that it will necessarily help Independents win.”

As it stands now Independents have a lot more hurdles than Republicans or Democrats to getting elected. They have to collect thousands more signatures, pay for voter registration information, they get no discount on postage for mailers, and by law their names always appear at the end of the ballot. Perhaps if only those parts of the law were changed it’d give more moderate candidates a better chance.

The problem with this “top two” initiative is in races like Congressional District 9’s primary race, where there were seven Republicans and only three Democrats so the Democrats had a better chance of getting the most votes, even though more Republicans turned up to vote. So even with good intentions, the proposition doesn’t solve the problem.

Fine said despite the challenges, he decided to run as an Independent because he simply doesn’t want there to be a question about who he answers to.

“In our Legislature now it’s gotten to the point that if you don’t go along with the party on their vote, the way you’re supposed to, they’ll take away your committee chairmanship and threaten you with taking away their support,” Fine said. “I don’t want to have any of those threats. This way I’m truly an Independent. I don’t want to be beholden to the party to tell me how to vote.”

Fine believes his biggest challenge in this election is just getting the Independents to vote. In LD 18 Independents are the second largest group of voters, behind Republicans.

I’m not sure Fine has convinced me to vote for him, but I do agree with him on this point. The best way for any candidate to have a better chance, no matter their party, is to get the Independents to vote.

No matter what your political views are, I hope we can all make up our minds on the candidates this election season. Don’t let your decision be dependent on a political party.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com

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