It takes guts to register as an “other” in Kentucky.

With most political races’ key decisions being made in the primary elections, saying that you want no part of the corporate parties is a way of allowing the system to silence you.

I make no secret about the fact that I am a registered “independent” and have been for several years.

For much of my life, I was registered as a Democrat, but as I got older and more conservative, I shifted to the Republican Party before just saying, “To heck with them both.”

Apparently, I’m not alone in making that decision.

Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams issued a press release Jan. 27 announcing that, for the first time, the number of Kentucky voters registered as an “other” broke the 10 percent mark.

Now seems as good a time as any to renew my call for Kentucky to open its primaries.

It’s not like the commonwealth would be alone. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have primaries that are open, but only to unaffiliated voters.

A total of 15 states have entirely open primaries, which allow any voter to choose which ballot they want, even if they’re a member of the opposing party.

Now, if Kentucky had, let’s say a completely open primary, I could go in on the day of the primary and request either a Democratic or Republican ballot, then cast my vote without having to legally pledge my loyalty to either of two corporate parties which are bugs, not functions, of our representative form of government.

Ideally, by placing yourself in a party, you would be pledging loyalty to not just a construct, but a set of ideas about how our government is run. For example, you should be able to join a particular party  because you agree with its ideas on fiscal and social policy.

While there have been clear separations in recent years between the two parties, overall, they tend to do the same things — protect the personal interests of their “elite,” as opposed to doing what’s best for the nation as a whole.

Kentucky is facing big challenges in the coming years. It will be vital to have a voice in the matter. Closed primary policies prevent a large and growing segment of our population from being involved at a vital juncture in the political process.

With these new numbers, it’s time for Kentucky to open up its primaries like so many other states have. We can’t afford to stay behind the curve on this one.

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