Green Independent Party opens primary election to all Maine voters


May 23, 2021

Green Independent Party opens primary election to all Maine voters

MAINE--Members of the Green Independent Party decided unanimously to allow all Maine voters to participate in its 2022 primary election. The vote, taken at the party's annual convention marks the first time a qualified political party in Maine has done so.

Since 2016, the Greens have allowed unenrolled (often referred to as independent) voters to participate in its primaries. The party's bylaws require a decision in every odd-numbered year on which voters may vote in its primary the following year.

The party's electoral committee chair, Justin Beth, celebrated the unanimous decision. “Most Mainers, including many state legislators, are currently unaware that Maine’s qualified parties may decide on their own who is eligible to participate in their primaries”, he said.

“Our party's decision shows we are committed to grassroots democracy. We trust the input of all registered voters on who should be our candidates and would ask why have the Democratic and Republican parties not taken this step themselves?"

According to Maine statute, each political party may notify the secretary of state of the enrollment qualifications to vote in that party's primary. If no notification is received by February 1, then only that party's members may vote in that primary.

Ben Meiklejohn, who chaired the party's convention said a unanimous vote is a strong indication of members' support.

"This is really important to Greens. We've partially opened our primaries before, but to decide in unison that it's time to open it the whole way, that's significant," he said.

Party Co-Chair Lyn Maravell said the decision is important to Maine's voters. “It’s all about letting the people decide and giving people more choice in who they can vote for.”

Jake Kulaw, also the party's co-chair, said “It’s not rocket science, we want to give people a chance to have their say in our elections. It's not hard to have open primaries. We’re just giving Maine voters what they’ve been asking for.”