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Open Primaries in the news

Yes, Washington, there is a political middle

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 15, 2017 at 3:23 PM

This article was written by Ed Coghlan for California Forward

On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, host Chuck Todd made a comment in the guise of a question that talked about the "hollowed-out middle" of American politics, namely how hyper-partisanship will endure because voter behavior in the primaries only results in very conservative Republicans and very liberal Democrats.

The story of growing division is a common theme in political cable news, which can often focus on partisan conflicts and Twitter wars.

Well, Chuck, while that might be true where you live and obviously guides how you produce your program, it isn't the case where I live.

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Legislators Introduce Bill to Establish Open Primaries in Maine

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 15, 2017 at 11:03 AM

This article was written by Debbie Benrey for IVN

After the citizens of Maine voted ‘yes’ to establish Ranked Choice Voting in the state, the legislature is now working on a bill that would introduce statewide open primaries to the electoral process.

During the 2016 election, Maine held caucuses instead of primary elections, in which around 48,000 Democrats and 19,000 Republicans participated across the state. On previous presidential elections, voters participated 2.5 times more than in 2016, which led the legislators to push for a system that can boost voter participation.

As of now, Mainers who want to participate in the taxpayer funded primaries are required to join a political party with recognized status. According to the organization Open Primaries, 37% of Maine voters are not enrolled in a political party, which means roughly 368,000 voters are barred from participating in the electoral process that is funded by taxpayer money. Bill L.D. 78 would remove that barrier, allowing unenrolled voters to participate without the need to affiliate with a party they does not feel represents them.

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Bill allowing open primaries gets warmer reception in House committee

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 15, 2017 at 10:40 AM

This article was written by Steve Terrell for the Santa Fe New Mexican

Voters unaffiliated with either of the two major political parties — currently barred from participating in primary elections — would be allowed to choose either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot under a bill that unanimously cleared a House committee Tuesday.

But judging by the reaction a similar bill received in a Senate committee earlier this week, the House bill could run into trouble if it makes it to the other side of the Roundhouse.

The House Local Government, Elections, Land Grant and Cultural Affairs Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to House Bill 206, sponsored by Reps. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, and Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque. Garcia Richard said her bill is aimed at increasing voter turnout.

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Attorney General Schneiderman Should Open Our Democracy and Support Open Primaries

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 15, 2017 at 10:25 AM

This article was written by Open Primaries Spokesperson Mark Moody for the Gotham Gazette 

Last week, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman stood before a crowd of New Yorkers gathered at Federal Hall and announced the introduction of a comprehensive reform bill aimed at expanding voting rights in New York. I applaud his leadership on this issue but he misses a critical point.

New York has some of the worst elections laws in the country. Among other backwards anti-voting provisions, New York has no early voting (unlike 37 states), a partisan board of elections, excuse-only absentee balloting, antiquated voting systems and holds multiple primary elections on different dates. Voters had to change their party registrations more than a full six months before the April 2016 presidential primary, before all the candidates were even identified.

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Bill allowing open primaries clears House committee

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 15, 2017 at 9:56 AM

This article was written by Steve Terrell for the Los Alamos Monitor Online

Voters unaffiliated with either of the two major political parties ­– currently barred from participating in primary elections – would be allowed to choose either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot under a bill that unanimously cleared a House committee Tuesday. But judging by the reaction a similar bill received in a Senate committee earlier this week, the House bill could run into trouble if it makes it to the other side of the Roundhouse.

The House Local Government, Elections, Land Grant and Cultural Affairs Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to House Bill 206, sponsored by Reps. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, and Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque. Garcia Richard says her bill is aimed at increasing voter turnout.

Statewide, nearly a quarter of registered voters are not allowed to participate in publicly funded primaries. As of the end of January, independent voters made up 19 percent of the registration, while minor parties make up an additional 4 percent.

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Bill allowing open primaries easily clears [New Mexico] House committee

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 15, 2017 at 9:35 AM

This article was written by Steve Terrell for the Santa Fe New Mexican

Voters unaffiliated with either of the two major political parties — currently barred from participating in primary elections — would be allowed to choose either a Democratic or Republican primary ballot under a bill that unanimously cleared a House committee Tuesday.

But judging by the reaction a similar bill received in a Senate committee earlier this week, the House bill could run into trouble if it makes it to the other side of the Roundhouse.

The House Local Government, Elections, Land Grant and Cultural Affairs Committee gave a do-pass recommendation to House Bill 206, sponsored by Reps. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, and Jim Dines, R-Albuquerque. Garcia Richard says her bill is aimed at increasing voter turnout.

Statewide, nearly a quarter of registered voters are not allowed to participate in publicly funded primaries. As of the end of January, independent voters made up 19 percent of the registration, while minor parties made up an additional 4 percent.

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Primary voting process needs fixing

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 14, 2017 at 11:09 AM

This article was published by the Nevada Appeal Editorial Board

If you don’t first succeed, try, try again. So goes the story involving State Sen. James Settelmeyer, who represents most of central and western rural Nevada including Churchill County.

The Douglas County legislator has introduced Senate Bill 103, a similar piece of legislation presented to the Austine body of lawmakers in 2015.

According to Settelmeyer, SB 103 will allow individuals to become candidates for partisan offices regardless of their political affiliation.

This bill seems to placate the Independent or nonpartisan voters who cannot vote in primary elections because they are neither Republicans or Democrats. Settelmeyer said in his bill any voter may cast a ballot in the primary election.

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Open primaries bill clears first committee

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 14, 2017 at 10:31 AM

This article was written by the Albuquerque Journal News Staff

SANTA FE – A proposal to open New Mexico’s primary elections to independent voters cleared its first House committee Tuesday.

The measure, House Bill 206, would allow voters who aren’t affiliated with a major party to participate in the June elections that determine who the Republican and Democratic nominees will be each year.

Supporters say the bill would boost turnout and encourage candidates to appeal to a broader cross-section of people, not just their party’s base of liberals or conservatives. It’s also important, supporters say, because many New Mexico races are decided in the primaries, leaving unaffiliated voters with no choice at all in the fall general elections.

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Gerrymandering: What’s In A Name?

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 14, 2017 at 9:55 AM

This article was written by Open Primaries President John Opdycke

Former Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that he—with support and encouragement from former President Obama—will be spearheading the newly formed National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Holder asserts that Republicans have drawn district lines to increase Republican representation in Congress and in state legislatures. He believes that the Democratic Party’s ability to compete rests on reversing Republican dominance of district map drawing.

As a leader of the disruptive wing (as opposed to the regulatory wing) of the political reform movement, I welcome Mr. Holder to the fray.

But there is an important question that arises from this announcement that cannot be glossed over. Namely, are Holder/Obama interested in ending gerrymandering? Or do they simply want to make sure that Democrats have a seat at the gerrymandering table?

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