To the editor:

In a call to the Caldwell County Board of Elections on March 22, I learned the following information. Since the last election, 34 voters previously registered as Democrat changed their registration, with 18 of them moving to unaffiliated, or independent; 118 voters previously registered as Republican changed their registration, with 94 of them moving to independent. The total number of voters registered as independent now stands at 16,004 in Caldwell County. I am one of those voters. Perhaps you are also.

And what do our county commissioners, all Republicans, want to force these independent voters to do, should any of us wish to run for school board in our county? They want to make us change our affiliation to either Republican or Democrat. Either that, or we would have to collect signatures of support from 4% of registered voters to then be allowed to enter the race for school board. Lie about what we really are, or do a bunch of work upfront that a Republican or a Democrat does not have to do. Neither of those choices is right or fair.

Independence is an essential value of all Americans, Republicans OR Democrats. And for sure it’s an essential value to people who don’t want either of those labels applied to us! To have our county commissioners take steps to force 16,004 to change our voter registration if we were to run for school board strikes me as a hard and wrongful blow to independence.

If there is a wind blowing in our county toward voter alignment, it is blowing away from labels. I am one of the 16,004 who will remember that it’s the Republican Party that is trying to force political labels on all of us in every way they can. Backing people into political corners is not what our county commissioners should be about.

Melissa Eggers