Who We Are

whoweare.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


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  • Featured post

    A Letter from the President: more freedom and less control

    john_headshot_newsletter.jpgThe phrases “Republican controlled legislature” or “Democratic controlled statehouse” are used by most political pundits not simply as descriptions of what is, but descriptions of the only way things could possibly be. We have two parties. They compete. Whomever gains the most seats has control. Period. Common sense. End of story.

    Not so fast. Take a look at Nebraska, as Associated Press author Anna Gronewold did last week.

    Gronewold paints a fascinating portrait of the Nebraska political scene. There are more Republicans in the Nebraska legislature (35) than Democrats (13) or independents (1).  But that does not mean that the Republican Party “controls” the legislature. Far from it. Nebraskans elect their state legislators using a nonpartisan, Top Two system (and once elected they serve in a nonpartisan, unicameral legislature) which means that the parties do not control their legislators. There is much more fluidity, members vote their conscience, and unlikely, left/right coalitions are built on specific issues. In fact they are commonplace. 

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    In the News: The rise of the Independent Voter

    This article was originally published by the Indianapolis Recorder.

    Dumping Demos, GOP?

    Rise of the Independent voter a possible political game-changer

    independent_voters_in_2013.jpgWhen asked what political party one belongs to, most people say Democrat or Republican, while others respond that they are Libertarian.

    However, a growing group of voters now answer that question with the response, “none of the above.”

    America’s independent voters, not to be confused with the Independent Party, are an assorted group of citizens who do not affiliate with any major political party. These voters state that they seek to break out of the stranglehold of partisan politics, and now vote for candidates based on merit.

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    Open Primaries is met with overwhelming support in Arizona


    A few weeks ago, Open Primaries organized a Telephone Town Hall in Arizona with more than 3,900 participants. Arizonans joined Open Primaries President John Opdycke, former Mayor of Phoenix Paul Johnson, and Founder of independentvoting.org Jackie Salit in a discussion moderated by our Arizona Campaign Director Patrick McWhortor.

    The subject of the call was our broken political system and the role of nonpartisan elections to amend that system. The response to the call was overwhelming in the sheer volume of participants. 

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    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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