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The People of Florida Have Spoken: They Demand Open Primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on May 19, 2017 at 1:19 PM

This article was written by Open Primaries Digital Director Jesse Shayne for IVN

A true demonstration of democracy is underway in Florida. Over the past two months, the Constitution Revision Commission — a political body that will select constitutional amendments to place on the 2018 ballot in Florida — held nine public hearings across the state where voters could speak out about the issues they want addressed. The final hearing took place in Tampa Wednesday night.

Thus far, one of the most popular topics of conversation was open primaries. Dozens of voters turned out at the initial hearings to express how they felt disenfranchised by closed primaries and opined on the unconstitutionality of forcing taxpayers to fund primaries they can’t vote in. But that’s far from all they had to say.

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Justices Reject Challenge to Hawaii, Montana Open Primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on May 15, 2017 at 4:01 PM

This article was published by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away challenges to open primaries in Hawaii and Montana that allow voters to take part in party primary elections regardless of their political affiliations.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the states' open primaries.

Democrats in Hawaii and Republicans in Montana had challenged the open primaries as a violation of the parties' constitutional right to freedom of association.

Voters do not have to be affiliated with a political party to cast ballots in primary elections.

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South Dakota Voters May See Open Primaries Amendment in 2018

Posted by jesse shayne on May 11, 2017 at 5:48 PM

This article was written by James Nord of the Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment that would switch South Dakota to an open primary system for some political offices say they plan to put the measure before voters in 2018.

The effort includes veterans of a campaign last year for a similar amendment that didn't pass, but backers of the new proposal say they've learned lessons from the previous push. Joe Kirby, chairman of the group proposing the constitutional amendment, said it would apply to primaries including those for the state Legislature, governor and congressional offices.

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HOW ONE ADVOCACY GROUP IS MAKING THE CASE FOR OPEN PRIMARIES IN NEW MEXICO

Posted by jesse shayne on May 11, 2017 at 3:53 PM

This article was written by Ernie Smith for Now Associations

The nonprofit advocacy group New Mexico Open Primaries, led by a former Democratic legislator, is one of a handful of efforts nationwide to encourage open-primary voting for independents.

Could open primaries give voters more say over who gets in office? An advocacy group in New Mexico is making the case for the Land of Enchantment to embrace them.

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Consider an open primary amendment

Posted by jesse shayne on May 10, 2017 at 4:15 PM

This article was published by the Citrus County Chronicle editorial board

Florida has closed primary elections. Under this system, which just a handful of other states use, only voters registered in one of the two major parties may vote in that party’s primary. The political parties like the closed system, but we don’t.

In Florida elections, an exception to the closed system occurs when all candidates belong to a single party. In that case, it becomes an open election in which everyone, regardless of party affiliation, may vote. It essentially becomes the general election for that office.

This system is ripe for manipulation, and we’ve seen it right here in Citrus County.

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The Hidden Cost of Primary Systems

Posted by jesse shayne on May 10, 2017 at 12:03 PM

This article was written by Matthew May for The Blue Review

Fewer state employees are turning out to vote in Idaho’s primary elections. While turnout can be affected by a number of factors, a survey of Idaho state employees suggests that this behavior may be driven, at least partially, by the state’s recent shift to a closed primary system. Under the previous “open” system, no record of a voter’s partisan affiliation was kept, leaving them free to participate in the partisan primary of their choice. Under the new “closed” system, voters must publicly declare a partisan affiliation beforehand in order to participate.

A state’s choice of primary system can influence election outcomes ­– it can affect voter participation and the partisanship of the winning candidate. There are additional costs attached to primary systems, though, ones that have been largely hidden from view up until now. Data indicates that under the closed primary, state employees are affiliating with political parties at a lower rate than the average Idaho voter. In order for policymakers (and the public) to assess the costs of a primary system fairly, it is important to first define what those costs are.

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Fight for Open Primaries Alive in Florida

Posted by jesse shayne on May 08, 2017 at 12:56 PM

This article was written by Frank Fear for LA Progressive

The Resistance shows no sign of abating. That’s good news—especially when resistance comes in the form of changing the political landscape.

That’s happening in Florida, of all places. That’s the state known notoriously for the “hanging chad” debacle of Gore v. Bush. 2000, and the epicenter of comic ridicule on late night TV.

But don’t laugh, Progressives, about what’s happening currently in The Sunshine State. The focus of change is opening up the primary system. And the possibility for proposed change can happen – get this – only five times a century. That’s because an epochal three-step is built into Florida’s Constitution.

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Your time to speak to Constitution Review Commission

Posted by jesse shayne on May 05, 2017 at 10:14 AM


This article was written by Franklin Fear for News-Press.com

If you’re like me, and you would like to see open primary elections in Florida, then you'll want to participate in an historic gathering next week in Fort Myers.

The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) will meet from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College.

Why is the CRC important? The state commission only meets once every 20 years. It engages in a year-long process focusing on Constitutional issues it believes require further consideration. If CRC members agree change is needed in Florida's Constitution, then one or more amendments will be placed on the following year’s General Election ballot (2018 in this case). If 60% of Florida voters approve an amendment, it’s added to the Florida Constitution.

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The Disillusioned American Voter

Posted by jesse shayne on May 04, 2017 at 2:37 PM

This article was written by Jordan Rosenfeld for Dame Magazine

In the post-mortem since the 2016 Presidential Election, reasons abound for why only 58.1 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote, leaving the United States in the tiny hands of the most unprepared, uninformed, and dangerous president in American history. These reasons run the gamut from diehard Bernie voters having refused to choose between two candidates that were, well, not Bernie Sanders to people who are tired of the two-party system; egregious misogyny and Russian-bot propaganda worked to turn people against Hillary, to disillusioned citizens who felt their vote didsn’t count because of the Electoral College. And on.

The truth is, however, that number is shockingly not a historic low, which might be an even more telling detail about Americans’ relationship to voting. According to infamous statistician Nate Silver (who was dead to me for some months after predicting a Hillary Clinton landslide), that number is down only a smidge from 2012, when turnout was 58.6 percent, and well above 2000’s rate of 54.2 percent.

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Andrew Huston: Put open primaries initiative before voter

Posted by jesse shayne on April 26, 2017 at 10:38 AM

This article was written by Andrew Huston for Gainesville.com

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission is convened every 20 years. It consists of 36 appointees plus the state attorney general. The governor appoints 15, the Florida Senate president appoints nine, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives appoints nine and the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court appoints three.

The commission, whose purpose is to consider initiatives to go on the 2018 ballot, has begun holding public hearings. The first was in Orlando, followed by Miami, Boca Raton and Tallahassee. One is being held today in Gainesville and more are scheduled over the next few weeks in other parts of the state (visit flcrc.gov for details).

The hearings give citizens an opportunity to provide direct input on various issues to the commission. If you believe our state constitution needs changes, please plan to attend in order to have your voice heard. As a volunteer for Florida Fair and Open Primaries, I’m using my two minutes to make a case for a top two open primary.

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