Why we register as independent voters.

On Tuesday, anyone who doesn’t completely ignore the political realm should have voted in the primary election.

We’ve got the results, beginning on page 9, though they are not yet known at the time of this writing.

And though it may be too late for all of you tools who neglected to cast votes in the primary, it is not to late to take part in the general election — though many of the races will be long settled by then.

And it’s not too late to make a critical change in your voter registration.

Every one of us on the Triad City Beat editorial staff is a registered independent — or, in North Carolina elections parlance, unaffiliated.

The practical reason for this affects primaries: Unaffiliated voters can vote in either the Republican or Democrat primary, while those registered under a party must vote that party’s ballot.

It was a tough call for each of us on Tuesday, with big showdowns on either side, all that will eventually affect our lives.

There are other reasons we register as unaffiliated. It helps us preserve our independence as we cover these candidates and their races It keeps us untethered from party loyalty Ideally it would send a strong signal to our readers about our absence of bias, but many are still surprised when they realize we play our political news straight.

Another motivation: We don’t feel comfortable dedicating our votes to candidates based solely on what color jerseys they wear. We’re sending a message to party leadership that they shouldn’t take our votes for granted.

Think about it. When you register as an R or a D, the fixers have already counted your votes in every election for the rest of your life. There’s no need for candidates to go after your support; you’ve already pledged it.

Meanwhile candidates — and those who hold office and hope to be re-elected — must court the unaffiliated voters, whose numbers are growing.

In just four years, voters registered as unaffiliated in North Carolina climbed by 266,000, from 1,475,511 in 2010 to 1,741,983 last month — an 18-percent hike. We are now almost a third of the electorate. Come join us, won’t you?

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