Posted by Jesse Shayne on June 14, 2017 at 10:34 AM
In 2016, the Republican Party of Montana and the Democratic Party of Hawaii filed legal challenges to the open primary laws in their respective states. The ninth Circuit Court ruled that neither party had provided evidence to show their rights had been abridged, and in both states the parties challenged the ruling.
After much anticipation, the Supreme Court announced that it would not hear legal challenges to Montana and Hawaii’s open primary systems. This is an important win for the open primaries movement. Had the Ninth Circuit’s decision been overturned, the Republican and Democratic Parties would have been able to use this decision as a weapon to close the primaries in in other states that conduct open elections.
Posted by Jesse Shayne on April 16, 2017 at 2:16 PM
Post 2016, the open primaries movement is expanding -- cultivating new coalitions and campaigns, attracting new leaders, developing new partnerships, and permeating mainstream media -- as more Americans become attuned to the impact of our rigged electoral process. Here are a few developments from March and April.
Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 10, 2017 at 2:17 PM
Virginia’s House of Delegates had a 100% incumbency return rate in 2015. But political insiders are never satisfied, which is why State Senators Mark Obenshain and John Cosgrove introduced legislation to further reduce electoral competition by closing Virginia’s primary and forcing Virginia voters to join a political party to vote.
But Virginians were not having it. After 1500 Open Primaries supporters throughout the state called and sent letters to their state representatives, the State Senate overwhelmingly voted down the closed primaries bill.
Steve Richardson of the Virginia Independent Voters Association, a spokesperson for the successful grassroots campaign, said “All registered voters should be free to choose among candidates for public office. Political party insiders should not be making those choices for us. We were dead set against these bills and we made our voices heard.”
Well done Virginia!
Posted by Jesse Shayne on December 23, 2016 at 2:56 PM
Voter Sues New York to Open Primaries:
Two weeks ago, Open Primaries Spokesperson Mark Moody defended the voting rights of 3.2 million New Yorkers -- who are locked out of the primaries -- before the New York State Supreme Court. The room was overflowing with over five dozen OP and independent voting activists -- the largest audience Judge Arthur Engoron had ever seen in his court.
Mark delivered a passionate argument for why New York’s closed primary system and change of party affiliation deadline -- the earliest in the country -- are unconstitutional.
Posted by Jesse Shayne on October 30, 2016 at 4:22 PM
Vote Yes on V is nearing the home stretch and they need your help. These last few days are the most crucial time for outreach, as voters finally sit down to decide which local candidates and ballot measures they should support. The campaign just received an endorsement from the Rapid City Journal and is premiering two new TV advertisements aimed at educating South Dakota voters on the benefits of public, nonpartisan primaries.
The whole country is joining in their fight because if Amendment V passes, it will send a strong message to Washington and politicians all across the country that Americans are reclaiming their democracy.
Posted by Jesse Shayne on October 24, 2016 at 5:24 PM
In Harvard Business School’s new report on competitiveness in the US economy, the authors identify political dysfunction as the biggest barrier to economic growth. They acknowledge the rise of independent voters and assert that the only way our economy will work for all Americans is if we enact a set of vital political reform measures, including open primaries. They conclude:
The impact of politics on our economy and our society can no longer be ignored. The system will not fix itself. Nor is hoping for better candidates a solution. Whatever candidates we elect will be trapped in a system that stands in the way of constructive progress.
This is the first time that a major power in the business world had stood up and said "we can't just be a special interest lobbying group, we have to rethink how we handle the debate."
Posted by Jesse Shayne on September 20, 2016 at 4:47 PM
A coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and independents have come together to enact public, nonpartisan primaries in South Dakota. Amendment V
will be on the ballot this November and the political establishment in South Dakota is up in arms. The last thing they want to see is the people come together across party lines to change the system so that the voters, not the parties, have the power.
You can help. Every dollar given to Vote Yes on V will be matched 2-to-1 by Open Primaries. Click here to donate.
Read more about the Yes on V campaign:
Posted by Jesse Shayne on September 01, 2016 at 10:26 AM
Two weeks ago, a federal appeals court rejected the Hawaii Democratic Party’s efforts to overturn a previous ruling in defense of the State’s open primary system. The court upheld the lower court’s decision by asserting that the HDP could not provide adequate evidence that the open system infringed upon its First Amendment right to freedom of association.
This is an important legal victory because the court shifted the burden of proof away from the voters and onto the political parties. They must be able to prove, state-by-state, that open primaries violate their freedom of association.
Posted by Jesse Shayne on August 11, 2016 at 10:18 AM
Open Primaries staff and volunteers went to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia to deliver our 40,000 signature petition and introduce an open primaries resolution at the rules committee meeting. Maggie Wunderly, a member of the Democratic Party Rules Committee, introduced the resolution, petition in-hand, and faced off against Rules Committee Chair Barney Frank. It was quite a spectacle to behold -- an activist standing up against an establishment stalwart as entrenched as Frank. Ultimately, over 25% of the Committee voted to enact a 50-state open primaries rule -- the first time that a major party has ever formally considered it.
While no major electoral reform measure passed at the DNC, we did force the Rules Committee to establish a “unity reform commission” to review issues of process and participation.
During the rules committee meeting, we took video testimonials of a number of our supporters, protesters, activists, and delegates, many of whom were frustrated when the Rules Committee meeting was closed to the public at the last-possible second.
Posted by Jesse Shayne on July 20, 2016 at 10:32 AM
We’re headed to the DNC on Saturday to deliver our petition to the Democratic Rules Committee. Here’s the challenge: We walked into the Rules Committee meeting in Cleveland with 33,000 signatures. We’d like us to walk into the Rules Committee meeting in Philadelphia with 100,000 signatures. Right now we have about 37,000 signatures.
If everyone who signed our petition shares it with just two friends, we can make our benchmark of 100k.
So here’s our plan for the DNC: We are in contact with numerous Democratic delegates who support our issue and are willing to work with us to make an impact at the Convention. We are also in contact with delegates on the Rules Committee who support our cause.
Rumour has it that Bernie Sanders is telling his 1,900-some-odd delegates to vote for open primaries. We are organizing to unite as many delegates and supporters around our cause as we can possibly find, and we intend to mobilize our network at the Convention, make a press splash, and make our presence known.