Like a good number of my fellow Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans, I am an independent voter. Like all veterans, when I deployed overseas, I wasn’t fighting for the Republican Party or the Democratic Party — I was fighting for the whole country.

That is why I am dismayed at Maine’s outdated election laws.

As an independent in the current system, I am not allowed to exercise the most fundamental of American rights — the right to vote — in the primaries when it really matters. While each major party makes use of taxpayer-funded elections to conduct their primaries, the largest block of voters in the state is not allowed to participate in those elections.

I don’t think that because a person is not affiliated with one party or another means that their voice shouldn’t count when it comes to determining who their elected officials are going to be. That is not what democracy is about, and that is not what the thousands of veterans in Maine who served in foreign wars risked their lives to protect.

I urge state representatives to pass LD 211 — An Act To Open Maine’s Primaries and Permit Unenrolled Voters To Cast Ballots in Primary Elections.

Ross Cunningham, Lisbon Falls

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