Depending on where you live, your official status as an independent voter may go by a variety of different terms, some good, some bad. The last I checked, here are some of the terms used in a sampling of states:
- Unaffiliated or No Affiliation
- No Party or No Party Affiliation
- Decline to State
Some states describe independents in such a way that if I lived in any of those states, I'd be tempted to write a postscript:
- New Jersey—"I do not wish to declare a political party affiliation at this time” ("Gee, give me a minute, though, and maybe I will")
- Oregon—“Not a member of a party” ("Not now, not ever, no way, no how")
- New York (in all caps, mind you)—“I DO NOT WISH TO ENROLL IN A PARTY” ("I SWEAR ON MY MOTHER'S GRAVE AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, I DO NOT WISH TO ENROLL IN A PARTY")
Considering that it is elected or appointed officials who determine the language of voter registration forms, it's a wonder we don't have more egregious examples of language designed to manipulate voter registration rolls, as is the case in Arizona. That state managed to erase some 140,000 independent voters from its voter database by changing the wording of its registration forms. Where once you could register as an independent, as of 2006 your only choice was “Specify Party Preference.” It's no surprise that the major parties enjoyed sitting back and watching their ranks swell as some voters felt coerced into choosing a party.
Whatever. I am an independent, unaffiliated, non-partisan voter. I refuse to specify a party preference—because I have none—and I DO NOT WISH TO ENROLL IN A PARTY. EVER. SO THERE.