Still, rather than go on about the many unattractive qualities of this year's two presumptive nominees (there will be plenty of time for that in the months to come), let us pause to consider voter rights. And equal representation. And this, too: there are 675,436 independent voters in the state of Maryland who did not cast a vote during the April 2016 presidential primary election. Why? Because the state of Maryland, along with 27 other states, maintains closed primary elections. That is, only those voters who are registered as either Democrat or Republican are permitted to vote for their Democratic or Republican candidate, respectively. And although you could theoretically register and vote as a Libertarian or with the Green party, why bother? It would be a castle in the sky to pull the lever for either of these ham-fisted parties. Meanwhile, those registered as independents (otherwise known as unaffiliated) — Maryland residents and U.S. citizens all — sadly cannot cast our vote.