Pinellas County currently has a total of 607,724 registered voters of which 153,886 are classified as “Other”, with no Independent classification. The main reasons there are no classifications of the Independent voter represented in those numbers is because the Independent group is small and has options when choosing an Independent party affiliation in Florida. There are 3 minor political parties that have been acknowledged by the board of elections, the Independent Democrat of Florida (IDF), America’s Independent Party of Florida (AIP) and the Independent Party of Florida (IPFL). The most prominent reason though is voters choosing no party affiliation believing they are voicing their displeasure with the Democrat and Republican Parties.
Choosing not to be a part of either of the major parties is a choice that in some respects has negativity attached. Florida being a closed primary state only allows a voter registered with the Democrat or Republican Party to vote during the primary election. An Independent must wait until the primaries are over before they can have any effect on the outcome of elections, which they do, in essence as a swaying piece between the 2 major parties. If by chance there is an Independent candidate in the race, there is a split as was seen during the Senate race here in Florida.
There is an alternative to becoming a member of any of the Independent parties here in Florida, such as, the grass roots effort that shocked both the Democrats and Republicans this past election, the Tea Party! The Tea Party, which has been unfairly characterized by many in the media is reaching out to the people in the community. Take a look around and you will find a Tea Party group in your area such as here in Pinellas County, the Pinellas Patriots. Though they are a melting pot of all political groups and may not be “Independent”, they do appear to be a group showing their displeasure with the unheard voices of the body politic. Go to one of their events and see if they may fit your political needs.
The choice to separate from all political parties can be easily accomplished for any reason you choose, but if there is a need to have your voice heard by the local and Federal Governments, aligning yourself with one of the minor parties that fit your core beliefs may be a great place to start. Interested in learning more about the Independent parties here in Florida, provided are a few links to some of the sites of the parties referenced in the article.
America’s Independent Party of Florida – http://www.selfgovernment.us/states/aip_florida.php
Independence Party of Florida – http://www.ipfl.org/
Pinellas Patriots – http://www.pinellaspatriots.org/