WASHINGTON COUNTY -- With Independence Day right around the corner, hundreds of registered voters in Washington County are receiving letters informing them they no longer can be registered as "Independent" voters.
Many voters have long referred to themselves as independents and have registered to vote that way rather than as unaffiliated, but the Maryland Board of Elections last month determined that the actual Independent Party, formed in 2008 to support the presidential candidacy of Ralph Nader, no longer was qualified to appear on ballots in the state.
The Independent Party has not filed any annual or campaign reports for 2009 and 2010, or had any other candidates, while the chairman has resigned and the treasurer moved to Iowa, said Jared DeMarinis, the director of Candidacy and Campaign Finance for the Maryland State Board of Elections.
On June 3, the Board of Elections found the Independent Party was not in compliance with state law and, essentially, it no longer existed, DeMarinis said. Statewide, there were more than 30,000 people who registered over the years as independent, said Mary C. Wagner, the director of the Board's Voter Registration & Petitions Division.