Who We Are

getinvolved_homepage.jpgOpen Primaries is a movement of diverse Americans who believe in a simple, yet radical idea: no American should be required to join a political party to exercise his or her right to vote. 

The mission of Open Primaries is to advocate for open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters, train and support spokespeople, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. 

During the progressive era, partisan primary elections were enacted to curb the power of party bosses and bring voters into the process of selecting party nominees. Today, 40% of voters do not wish to enroll in a political party, and closed primaries bar them from voting. 

Closed primaries also make it more difficult for new coalitions to form and for Americans--both voters and elected officials--to come together across ideological lines.  

Open Primaries' commitment is to public education and to leading legal, legislative and direct ballot initiative campaigns to enact and protect open primaries. 

Read the Press Release: New National Open Primaries Organization Launched


  • Featured post

    Supporter Spotlight: Obama campaign volunteer locked out of 2008 primary in New York

    MelanieHeadshot.jpgIn 2007 Melanie Whaley finally found a presidential candidate she was excited about who inspired her to get more involved in politics. She became the office manager of the Poughkeepsie, NY’s Obama for America campaign office and was responsible for organizing volunteers to go to Pennsylvania for get out the vote efforts.

    "I wanted to become more active. Up to this point, all I had done was vote. I was genuinely excited about Obama in a way that I hadn't been about any other candidate, and I was willing to volunteer my time to help elect him."

    At the time, Melanie was registered as an unaffiliated voter in New York—she was not officially aligned with the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, in the state of New York, unaffiliated voters are not allowed to vote in primary elections

    Currently, there are 2.9 million unaffiliated voters in the state of New York who are locked out of primaries. Melanie was forced to change her political affiliation so she could support her candidate and vote for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary. But, she was still locked out!

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  • Featured post

    In the news: Sacramento Bee publishes op-ed by Open Primaries President John Opdycke

    california.gifFriday, February 20, 2015The Sacramento Bee published an op-ed written by Open Primaries President John Opdycke. The op-ed looks at California's Top Two primary system from a national perspective. John writes,

    "Top Two is working.  Every voter in California can now participate in the first round of voting.  Every voter is free to choose candidates in the primary from any party.  Politicians have to (gasp) engage with voters outside of their own parties from the get go.  The number of competitive election contests has increased. Because in California, the voters have the power.  The political parties are as strong and influential as they have ever been, with a big difference:  under the current system in California, the parties are participants, not gatekeepers.  They don’t get to decide who can and cannot vote in the first round and they don’t control the general election ballot.

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  • Featured post

    VIDEO: New Yorkers ask for open primaries

    Open Primaries team members Zach Handler and Russell Daniels took to the streets of New York to talk to voters about the election process. Many New York residents were surprised to learn that 2.9 million independent voters in the state are currently locked out of voting in the primary elections. 

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  • Featured post

    Urge Senator Schumer to stand up for election reform in New York

    blog_schumer.jpgOpen Primaries and the Independence Party of New York City have partnered to urge U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to play a leadership role in the growing movement to enact open primaries and empower independent voters.

    Senator Schumer has already stood up for this reform in the New York Times, and now we want him to do something about it. Everyone knows that New York politics is corrupt. 

    Enacting Top Two nonpartisan primaries in New York and other states would not be a cure all, but it would give "we the people" more capacity to impact what goes on in Albany and Washington and allow independents — the fastest growing segment of the electorate — the capacity to fully participate.

    Our goal is to get thousands of signatures on our petition by March 13th and we need your help and support to make this happen.

    Sign the open primaries petition now!

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