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Democrats formalize plans to open primaries to independents

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Registered independents in Oklahoma will be able to vote in Democratic primaries beginning in 2016, including the presidential preferential primary on March 1.

Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Mark Hammons formally notified the state Election Board secretary on Monday that independents will be allowed to vote in any party primary election or runoff primary held over the next two years.

The change was formally approved at the Democratic Party's state convention in July. Hammons says he believes the change will help Democratic candidates appeal to more voters.

There are about 261,000 registered independents in Oklahoma, and the group is the fastest growing in the state.

Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Pam Pollard says the GOP has no plans to open its primaries to independents.

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