Mission - Open Primaries
Blog Background

Our Mission

No American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.

educatevoters.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 their 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 and policymakers, train spokespeople, conduct and support research, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. We provide information to the public about open and nonpartisan primaries. We engage all sectors—voters, policy makers, good government and civic organizations, business leaders, community activists—to educate, build bridges and develop the primary reform movement.

Closed primaries are a fetter. They produce elected officials more accountable to their party than to their constituents. They restrict participation and reinforce division. They exclude independent voters, the largest and fastest growing sector of the electorate. And closed primaries make it more difficult for the American people—voters and elected officials alike—to come together across ideological lines.

We accomplish our mission through two entities:

  • Open Primaries Advocacy is a 501c4 organization that advances efforts to enact and protect open primaries through legislation, ballot referendums, and voter mobilization and direct advocacy campaigns.
  • Open Primaries Education Fund is a 501c3 organization that conducts research, hosts educational forums, provides information to the public about open and nonpartisan primaries, and supports legal efforts.

The Problem: Why do we need Open Primaries?

I_cant_vote_pic.jpg86% of Americans believe the government is broken under the closed primary system. Elected officials are persuaded by narrow party bases and other viewpoints or constituencies are excluded. The American electorate is growing more and more polarized, yet the people routinely describe their views as "mixed." 

In many states, due to closed primaries and partisan gerrymandering, less than 5% of voters are deciding who represents 100% of that district or state. This is not representative democracy.

According to Gallup's May 18, 2015 polling, Americans have rated dysfunctional government as the top problem facing the United States for six consecutive months.

Congress's productivity is as at a record low. According to a Pew Research Center study, the 2013-2014 Congress was the second lowest productive session since 1947.

The biggest winner in open primaries are the voters. If we are to change the way our elected officials work for the American people, we must change how we elect our representatives.

After California voted to end partisan gerrymandering and enact open, nonpartisan primaries, the state went from the least competitive to the most competitive state in the country.

Secondly, Independents are the largest growing segment of the electorate. Today, 43% of Americans identify as politically independent.

Excluding independent voters from the first round of elections is unfair,  undemocratic and contributes to the growing disconnect between the people and the parties.

A nonpartisan primary system requires that all candidates appear on a single primary ballot. All voters, whether registered to a party or not, are allowed to participate. And the Top Two winners move on to the general election, regardless of party. 

This means that candidates must reach out to ALL voters and voters are able to vote for a candidate based on that individual’s views on policies that affect them.

Open primaries create more competitive elections, expand participation and create a legislature that works for the people, not the parties. 

The Solution: How do we move forward?



  • State-based ballot measure campaigns


  • Building strong and diverse coalitions


  • Educating voters


  • Engaging elected officials and candidates



Help Us: Get involved with Open Primaries

NCSL_OP4.jpgVolunteer with Open Primaries: We are recruiting in all 50 states

Contact your legislator: Use our web tool to contact your legislator and ask them to support the Open Our Democracy Act

Endorse the movement: Endorse Open Primaries online and tell us why you support the movement

Donate: We are a nonprofit organization. Donate to Open Primaries and help us reach our goal of enacting open and nonpartisan primaries in all 50 states

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