Posted by Jesse Shayne on April 16, 2017 at 2:16 PM
April 16, 2017
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.
Florida Voters Are Ready for Change
Every 20 years, Florida convenes a Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) to review the state constitution and recommend changes. The CRC is currently holding public hearings around the state to hear ideas from the public. After three hearings, early evidence is that the voters want to change Florida’s closed partisan primaries. Dozens of voters -- some of whom drove hundreds of miles to testify -- have let the 37 commissioners know that Florida’s closed primary system is unfair, out of date, and needs to change.
- Local TV News Story about strong public support for primary reform
- A majority of Florida voters believe open primaries in elections is a good idea
A Fight is Brewing in Alaska
Alaska State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage) has the Republican Party in an uproar, threatening to primary her next year. Why? Because she had the courage to stand up for the voters. LeDoux introduced a top-two primaries bill (HB 200) last month, and has been on the hotseat since. 56% of Alaskans are independent, and the state has a closed primary. Naturally, there’s a great deal of support of LeDoux’s bill, just not from the political establishment. The parties disagree on everything, but the one issue they always join forces to oppose is open primaries.
Bridge Alliance Grant
Open Primaries received a $35,000 grant from the Bridge Alliance to fund a pilot project in partnership with Fair Vote. The goal of the project is to test how reform issues and organizations can work together to build networks of supporters and local leadership. Stay tuned for more details as the project gets underway!
As voters across the country begin to connect the dots between primary reform and political dysfunction, new voices continue to emerge in the open primaries movement. In Nevada and New Mexico -- states where open primaries campaigns were waged earlier this year -- two new leaders emerged to express their dissatisfaction with closed primaries.
- Abraham Sanchez issued a decisive ultimatum to New Mexico’s political establishment: Open the primaries to all voters or pay for them yourselves
- And Jessica Reeder asked Nevada Democrats -- who refused to give a top-two bill a hearing last month -- why they don’t want independents like her to vote in the primaries
In The News
Open Primaries President John Opdycke has been in the media lately, pushing Senator Bernie Sanders to be more outright with his support for open primaries, and challenging closed primary advocates to justify why taxpayers should foot the bill for their party affairs.