Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on The Fulcrum, and has been republished on IVN with permission from the publisher.

In 2020, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, donated more than $400 million to state and local governments to boost election administration funding. Since then, more than a dozen states, nearly all controlled by Republicans, have passed laws banning such private contributions.

A third of Maine’s electorate will have an opportunity for meaningful participation in taxpayer-funded elections. Governor Janet Mills allowed a bill to go into law Monday that creates a semi-open primary system that gives independent voters a say in the state's primaries.

“When we encourage and allow more voters to participate in our elections, we all benefit,” said state Senator Chloe Maxmin (D-Lincoln), who sponsored the legislation. “Voters have been asking for semi-open primaries for years, and I’m thrilled that we have been able to make it happen.”

In most of the country independent voters, despite their growing numbers, are marginalized by closed partisan primary systems in which the winners are virtually pre-determined in low turnout primaries -- before independent voters can weigh in. 

Not so in California, where a decade-old non-partisan primary system lets all voters, including independents, vote in an open primary that advances the top two vote getters to the General Election, regardless of party.