Posted by Jesse Shayne on November 02, 2016 at 6:23 PM
Debriefing Democracy: Nonpartisan Movements In the Spotlight
We are now just a week away from Election Day, bringing to a close a presidential election that has given voters the two most disliked and untrusted candidates in modern U.S. history. It is an election cycle that has revealed just how broken elections are in the U.S.
Voters are undeniably fed up with the status quo.
The good news, however, is that many people and organizations are working to fix the broken system and great progress is being made. Here are some efforts you should know about. This week, the summaries are provided by the organizations themselves:
Open Primaries is supporting the Vote Yes on V campaign for top-two primaries in South Dakota and has helped organize a diverse coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents from across the state that are supporting the measure. Given the success of top-two primaries in California, Washington, and Nebraska, Open Primaries believes that the system could greatly reduce obstructionism and hyper-partisanship in the Mount Rushmore State, and would send a strong message to Washington that America’s voters are reclaiming their democracy. They are currently matching all donations to Vote Yes on V, 2-to-1.
Open Primaries is also supporting two ballot initiatives championed by the Let Colorado Vote campaign. Independent voters comprise a plurality of the electorate in Colorado, yet are shut out of the primaries.
Proposition 107 would would re-establish presidential primary elections in Colorado and open them up to unaffiliated voters. Proposition 108 would allow unaffiliated voters to cast a ballot in non-presidential primaries. The campaign has been so successful that the political establishment has resorted to distorting the language in the voter guide to confuse voters. Open Primaries President John Opdycke responded with an op-ed in Newsweek.
Virginia General Assembly Delegate Sam Rasoul — a strong ally of the open primaries movement — recently introduced a constitutional amendment that would adopt a top-two primary system in his state — HJ 541. Rasoul believes that the measure will make elections far more competitive in Virginia, where 100% of incumbents were reelected last year. He penned an op-ed with Open Primaries Senior Vice President Jeremy Gruber on the implications of public primaries in Virginia. Open Primaries is currently staging a contact your legislator campaign for Virginians who support Rasoul’s measure.
Mark Moody is an independent voter who was prevented from voting for Bernie Sanders because of New York’s closed primary which shut out 3.2 million New Yorkers this year. Mark is also an attorney and has brought a legal challenge under New York’s constitution. His first hearing is December 6th and Open Primaries is supporting his case and organizing folks to attend the first hearing. Open Primaries has a sign-on letter, urging Senator Sanders to attend in support, that has garnered hundreds of signatures so far.