- Adriana Espinoza published Open Primaries Endorsed by Student Political Action Club at NYU in Blog 2015-10-23 11:38:50 -0400
- Adriana Espinoza wants to volunteer 2015-10-20 09:55:18 -0400
- Adriana Espinoza published Reddit users ask Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders about election reform in Blog 2015-05-27 13:28:07 -0400
- Adriana Espinoza published Open Primaries is met with overwhelming support in Arizona in Blog 2015-05-22 11:38:45 -0400
- Adriana Espinoza published What the Pew Research Center missed on political affiliation in Blog 2015-05-22 11:08:43 -0400
On September 30th, Open Primaries went to NYU to present a case for nonpartisan top two primary reform to the members of the Student Political Action Club or S-PAC.
We were invited by the group’s President, Akbar Hassonjee. S-PAC is a nonpartisan student-led public policy reform group that was formed to promote open discussion of policy and encourage student political activism. Their motto—where student vision comes before any party or creed—fits in perfectly with the mission of open primaries.
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In May of 2015, in response to a surge of articles and editorials expressing dissatisfaction with the closed primary system, the Open Primaries outreach team began calling voters in Philadelphia. We wanted to gain perspective on Independent and unaffiliated voters in the area, measure their satisfaction with the current primary system, and provide outreach about reform options.
Our survey started with a set of general questions about primaries to gauge the voter’s understanding of and thoughts about the current system. What we discovered was contrary to how the media characterizes independent and unaffiliated voters. The voters we spoke to in Philadelphia were not apathetic and disengaged. By and large, these voters knew about the closed partisan system, and had been fed up with it for years. We spoke to many Philadelphia voters who were angry about being locked out of the first round of voting. In all, 73% said there are flaws in the current closed primary system.
I have to admit I like Reddit probably more than I should. And because I log on at least once a day, I notice patterns in the posts that make it to the front page. Recently, I’ve watched Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders soar in popularity amongst users on the site. Senator Sanders is the longest serving Independent in Congress. He is lauded by Reddit users for having a consistent voting record that directly aligns with the ideals he campaigns on (a surprising rarity in today’s Congress).
On Tuesday Sen. Sanders did an AMA. For non-redditors, AMA stands for “ask me anything” and is a forum where users submit questions to a person of interest. I noticed the post on my commute home, three hours after it had been posted, and was excited to see the top question (as determined by votes) was about election reform!
Last week I had the chance to learn about the myriad of ways reformers are looking to change the political system to be more representative and inclusive.
I attended FairVote’s Democracy Slam with Open Primaries General Counsel Harry Kresky, who spoke on the panel about Top Two Nonpartisan Primaries.
Proposals offered a very wide range of policy solutions to strengthen our democracy.
A few weeks ago, Open Primaries organized a Telephone Town Hall in Arizona with more than 3,900 participants. Arizonans joined Open Primaries President John Opdycke, former Mayor of Phoenix Paul Johnson, and Founder of independentvoting.org Jackie Salit in a discussion moderated by our Arizona Campaign Director Patrick McWhortor.
The subject of the call was our broken political system and the role of nonpartisan elections to amend that system. The response to the call was overwhelming in the sheer volume of participants.
Last week, the Pew Research Center published its latest report on political affiliation titled, “A Deep Dive Into Party Affiliation: Sharp Differences by Race, Gender, Generation, Education.”
It is an impressive feat of data accumulation, but a complete distortion of the growing disaffection with partisan politics that is sweeping the country.
The report analyzes data from 25,000 interviews to break down political affiliation in terms of race, gender, education, age, and religion. Independents rank highest among voters. But Pew insists that independents are actually Democrat Leaners or Republican Leaners.
Because they cannot make sense of this rise in independent identification, they place independents into “partisan-lite” categories in order to formulate their analysis. I don’t blame them for this. As human beings we are vulnerable to understanding new phenomena using outdated categories and obsolete tools.