If you are a “no party preference” (NOP) aka “Independent” registered voter, you recently received a postcard from your local County Recorder’s office notifying you that if you wish to vote in the August 26 primary election, you should select the party primary in which you wish to vote and return the post card (postage prepaid).

If you are on the Permanent Early Voting List, check the box for either a Republican or Democratic party primary ballot, sign and return the postcard before July 12. Independents can also call your local county elections division (602-506-1511 in Maricopa County, and 520-351-6830 in Pima County). If you have not already done so, sign return your postcard now. Early voting begins July 31.

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I want to encourage Independent voters to vote in the Republican Party primary. With the exception of a few legislative district races and the CD 7 congressional race, Democrats have a limited number of contested primary races. Independent voters who do not live in these contested districts should choose a Republican Party ballot where your vote can have the most impact. (And no, choosing a Republican Party ballot does not make you a Republican voter. I don’t know why people think this). Democrats love you Independents, we really do, and you can still vote for the far superior Democratic Party candidates come November.

I have had a number of Independent voters tell me they did not know that they could vote in a party primary election. This is partly the fault of low information voters, and to a larger extent the fault of election officials who do not do enough public service announcements (PSAs) to educate Independent voters on their right to vote.

Fewer than 8 percent of Independent voters cast a ballot in the 2012 primary.  Secretary of State Ken “Birther”Bennett again estimates that fewer than 10 percent of Independents will bother to vote in this year’s primary election. This is shameful and unacceptable. You are giving Independent voters a bad name.

Do something different this year — request a ballot and actually vote for a change!

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