Why I Have Left The Unenrolled Voter Majority
Unenrolled Voters Outnumber Democrats, Republicans, and All Others.
By William Legault
Recently I announced that I have agreed to become the Chairman of the Salem United Independent Salem City Committee. This was not a decision easily reached as I have always avoided party politics.
When I first registered to vote in 1978 it was as a voting free-agent. I truly don’t recall what we called that designation then. Maybe the term was independent, maybe it was something else. It didn’t matter to me at the time, my only concern was to avoid being labeled as either a democrat or a republican.
Over the years my voting record has been eclectic to say the least. In 1980 my preference for President was George H. W. Bush and when he didn’t get the nomination I voted for John Anderson of Illinois who ran as a third party candidate. In 1984 I supported Ronald Reagan. 1992 brought George H. W. Bush as my choice. Ross Perot intrigued me that year, until he went off of the rails. Bill Clinton got my support in 1996, not because I was completely comfortable with him, but because I just didn’t think Bob Dole was what we needed. That was a year to look forward so it was Clinton. My support went to George W. Bush in both 2000 and 2004. That choice came from my more conservative leanings, but also because I truly had no attraction to either Al Gore or John Kerry. In 2008 I did vote for Barack Obama, but in 2012 Mitt Romney had my full support.
In state elections I will admit I have often voted for losers because I just have never been comfortable with our congressional delegation and state legislature being a clubhouse of democrats. I always look for balance. While I acknowledge Ted Kennedy as one of the great Senate leaders of the 20th Century I could just never vote for the man.
A sincere desire for true political balance in Massachusetts that has brought me to the UIP. It is a fledgling effort, that while not doomed to failure faces an uphill climb against strong Massachusetts political winds. We are the orphaned child of the Bay State political scene and we are gong to try, one small step at time, to create real change. There are no grandiose plans here to supplant the Democratic Party as the dominant force in Massachusetts. That would be a pipe dream. What we would like to do is to establish a viable and reasonable alternative to the status quo. Every state needs a functional and respected opposition, and the fact is that in Massachusetts we do not have one.
We want to, and need to register voters who are of a like mind so as to maintain our party designation. We also need to run candidates for office. There are a few out there now, and next year we intend to put more names on ballots all over the state.
When I announced on Facebook my decision to form a Salem committee there was an immediate response from a Salem democratic activist who felt that the time and the forum was appropriate to question the name of the UIP as confusing to the average voter. The comments clearly demonstrated not only a misunderstanding of the how and why of the UIP name, but also seems to indicate a resentment that anybody would even consider that change is needed and also showed a disrespect for our efforts. What bothered me most about the post is the assumption that the average voter is too dense to understand what they are doing when they register.
Nobody has ever held my hand when I register to vote or when I am in the ballot box and they never will. That same “independence” stood with me on the Salem City Council every step of the way.
We of the UIP look forward to working towards the goal of creating a true political balance in Massachusetts. We will work with and alongside all, democrats, republicans, greens, libertarians, and all others who feel that maybe, just maybe, we can all do better.