August 2019 Newsletter - Open Primaries
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August 2019 Newsletter

Posted by Russell Daniels on August 29, 2019 at 2:31 PM

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Open Primaries.  Here's what's going on around the country:

Alaskans for Better Elections

Recently, a diverse group of Alaskans came together to create Alaskans for Better Elections- dedicated to putting Alaskans back in control of their elections and making them “more open, transparent, and fair.” Opening the primaries to all voters is one of the group’s key goals, along with implementing ranked choice voting and campaign finance disclosure.  Alaska has the highest number of registered independent voters of any state in the country - well over 50% of all voters. Alaskans for Better Elections believes that their reform package will enfranchise independents, give all voters real choice and reduce partisanship in the state. Last week, OP Senior VP Jeremy Gruber met with campaign organizers Jenny-Marie Stryker and Scott Kendall in Anchorage to discuss the initiative and offer our support.  

Open Primaries PA Advocates Host a Public Forum in Philadelphia

Last week, PA Senator Anthony H. Williams and founding members of Open Primaries PA held a panel discussion in West Philadelphia. Dr. Jessie Fields (Open Primaries), David Thornburgh (Committee of Seventy), Micah Sims (Common Cause) & Michael Fabius (Ballard Spahr) made up the expert panel that touched on a variety of electoral reform issues and engaged the public in a dynamic discussion on the need for reform.

Pennsylvania is a hotbed of reform activity these days. The PA Senate recently passed open primaries legislation and PA activists are using this momentum to reach out to every sector of the public to move this initiative forward. To learn more about the campaign in PA, visit: Open Primaries PA.

Chair of Voter Advocacy for the LWV Florida calls for Open Primaries 

Michele Levy, Director of Voter Advocacy for The League of Women Voters Florida has responded to a recent letter to the editor in The Sun Sentinel that advocated for Florida to keep its closed primary system. 

Levy’s full response: 

“I am responding to Jesse Panuccio’s op-ed regarding open primaries. I was the chair for the study that the League of Women Voters did on the closed primary system in Florida, and the Chair of Voter Advocacy for the League. Florida is one of only nine states that still have closed primaries. Less than 23 percent of voters in Florida actually participated in their party’s primaries between 2000-2016, and the current system prohibits the 1 million voters with minor party affiliation as well as more than 4 million No Party Affiliation Voters from participating. Primary elections are paid for by all taxpayers, not the parties. The League is a non-partisan organization, and we seem to have found the one issue that both Republicans and Democrats can agree on. They both hate open primaries because they would have to appeal to a broader swath of our population.”

The League of Women Voters of Florida is part of a coalition led by All Voters Vote which is working to put an initiative on the 2020 Florida ballot for top two open primaries.  

Open Primaries Attends National Conference of State Legislatures Summit in Nashville 

Open Primaries recently attended the 2019 NCSL Summit in Nashville, TN. NCSL hosts an annual gathering of thousands of state lawmakers who are given the opportunity to explore innovative policy solutions and network with other legislators and policy advocates. Open Primaries Digital Communications Manager Russell Daniels, Florida Fair and Open Primaries Director Steve Hough & Committee of Seventy Policy Director Pat Christmas represented the primary reform movement. 

Open Primaries met with dozens of legislators from all across America to talk about primary reform and how they can help lead the effort in their own state. Several friends of Open Primaries stopped by to offer their support.


Media Roundup

NBC2 FL: An open primary would give thousands of no-party affiliation voters a chance to vote WATCH

WashingtonBlade: Voter Exclusion, Now Tax-Funded READ

LA Progressive: It’s Time To Take America’s Independents Seriously READ

Albuquerque Journal: Real Change Starts with Political Reform READ

Sun Sentinel: Closed Primaries Disenfranchise 3.7 million Florida Voters. Let All Voters Vote READ

AZCentral: Democrats should open Arizona's 2020 presidential primary to independent voters READ

Winchester Sun: Will Kentucky ever be fair for Independents? Read


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