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no party preference.JPGThe Independent Voter Project, the group that wrote the measure that led to the top-two primary, is sending fliers and using social media to urge people with no party preference to vote in the June 5 primary.

One flier pictures two men smoking cigars and says, "Political bosses made their choices" and "you were not involved." It adds, "This time you're invited...the new open primary puts you in charge."

The flier was sent only to people who listed "none" as their party preference when they registered to vote. It was sent to about 250,000 people, said Steve Peace, a former state legislator and chair of the Independent Voter Project.

"Our core message is for independent voters to know they can vote for candidates," Peace said. "They're not used to being able to vote in June."

The second flier contains drawings of an angry donkey and an angry elephant standing with their arms crossed. It reminds independent voters they can vote in the primary, even though they are not registered to a particular party.

That flier pictures people with the caption "I'm a 'none.'" The last photo on the flier is of an actual nun.

During the primary, voters will not receive a Republican or a Democrat ballot. Instead, they will get a full list of candidates - Republican, Democrat, no party preference or with a minor party affiliation.

Voters will then select one candidate. The two candidates with the most votes, regardless of party affiliation, will move on to the November election. This makes it possible for a district to have two candidates of the same party, or someone who does not belong to a major party, competing in the November election.

While some political analysts have suggested no-party-preference voters could have a significant impact on the primary, Peace said it is unlikely very many will vote. He said about 10 percent of no-party-preference voters usually participate in the June election.

"We expect a very low turnout (in general), and turnout with Independents is likely to be lower than with Democrats and Republicans," Peace said.

Peace said the Independent Voter Project is focusing on the long-term goal of increasing voter participation, using different strategies in different districts to analyze what marketing strategy works best so it can be used in future elections.

He also said he was surprised how many no-party-preference candidates are running in this election. Thirty six of the 500 state and federal candidates chose that option.

Before, Peace said, it was very difficult if not "practically impossible for an Independent to run."


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