Blog - Open Primaries
Blog Background

The latest from the movement

OPINION: The Best Antidote to Trumpism is More Democracy

Posted by Russell Daniels on February 04, 2021 at 3:25 PM

written by Harry Kresky for IVN

Democrats, if they acted out of more than pique and the need to feed red meat to their base, hoped that the second impeachment would prevent Trump from running again, legally disqualifying him. Justice Roberts put the lie to that when he signaled that he would not preside because it was not, constitutionally speaking, an impeachment, as Trump was no longer in office. Moreover, if anything, the impeachment will keep Trump’s base engaged and in sympathy with their leader. 

Read more

NM holds hearing on open primaries

Posted by Russell Daniels on February 04, 2021 at 1:03 PM

New Mexico Open Elections has an open primaries bill that will be heard in committee on Friday, Feb. 5, and they still need votes to move it through House Judiciary. The hearing is at 1:30 pm GMT. Now is the time to call the swing votes and tell them why you think New Mexico's primaries should be open to ALL taxpaying voters. 

Read more

Let Independents vote in primaries

Posted by Russell Daniels on February 03, 2021 at 11:03 PM

written by Sherry Robinson for Carlsbad Current Argus

If you look out at the political landscape and see mostly the wacky right and the wacky left and not much in between, you should get behind House Bill 79.

The bipartisan measure would open primary elections to all registered voters and not just those affiliated with the major political parties. Independents and members of minority parties could ask the Democrat, Republican, or Libertarian parties for a ballot without having to change their registrations. Democrats couldn’t vote in the Republican primary and vice versa.

Read more

Interview with David Thornburg

Posted by Jonathan Richter on July 31, 2018 at 11:58 AM

David Thornburgh, president and CEO of the Committee of Seventy, poses for a portrait in his office in Philadelphia. | David Maialetti/Philly Inquirer

The issue of open primaries recently became front page news in Pennsylvania as some legislative leaders called for their adoption. We sat down with David Thornburgh, President of the Committee of 70 to get his take on combatting partisan gerrymandering in one of the most challenging political climates in the country. His battle plan? Addressing money in politics, redistricting reform, and opening up the primaries.

Read more

Leaders of the Movement: Steve Hough

Posted by jesse shayne on December 18, 2017 at 9:00 AM

In an exciting victory for Floridians, a constitutional amendment was recently proposed to open the state’s primaries to the 3.4 million independent voters who are currently locked out of them. If the proposal gets the majority of the Commission’s support, it will go to the 2018 ballot—and then it’s up to the voters to decide.

One of the main people behind this grassroots effort was Steve Hough, director of the volunteer-based organization Florida Fair and Open Primaries (FFAOP).

Read more

New survey reveals most Californians are satisfied with open primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on December 14, 2017 at 1:56 PM

Five years after adopting top-two, open primaries, California has seen its legislature transform from a state of dysfunction into a successful model for reform. Now, a new survey reveals that the people of California are noticing. Last month, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that most voters in California are satisfied with the state’s top-two, open primary system, with 60% of likely voters in California saying it has “been mostly a good thing.”

Read more

Spotlight: The Grassroots Movement for Open Primaries in Florida

Posted by jesse shayne on December 12, 2017 at 12:29 PM

Months of grassroots efforts recently paid off in Florida when a constitutional amendment was proposed to open the state’s primaries. After the people of Florida spoke out, Florida Constitution Revision Commissioner William Schifino put forth a proposal to establish partisan open primaries in Florida and allow the state’s 3.4 million independent voters to choose a party ballot to vote on during primary elections. If the proposal gets the majority of the Commission’s support, it will go to the 2018 ballot—and then it’s up to the voters to decide.

One of the driving forces behind this victory was Florida Fair and Open Primaries (FFAOP), a volunteer-based organization led by Steve Hough whose original goal was to get top-two open primaries on the ballot.

Read more

Five “Early Successes” of California’s (Top-Two) Open Primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on October 24, 2017 at 4:22 PM

Americans everywhere are fed up with the state of politics. At the federal level, political paralysis and polarization prevent Congress from solving pressing issues every day. At the state level, it can be just as frustrating. Yet, while polarization and paralysis impede the progress of many state legislatures, one in particular seems to be heading in the right direction and actually getting things done -- California.

Earlier this year, California passed a bipartisan cap and trade emissions bill -- something virtually unthinkable for congress. The “bipartisan” component of this legislation is worth reiterating; stakeholders reached across party lines, came together, and compromised to pass this bill.

How was this possible? It’s simple: California’s voters and legislature recognized that a fundamentally flawed electoral system was the root source of paralysis and polarization. So they changed it.

In 2008, voters passed Prop 11, which handed redistricting over to an independent commission. In 2012, California passed Prop 14, which established nonpartisan, top-two primaries for all federal and state elections. This system allows California’s independent and unaffiliated voters -- that’s 24% of the state’s voting eligible population -- to participate in all congressional and state primaries, with the top two candidates advancing to the general election. The system has quickly propelled California from a symbol of legislative dysfunction to a blueprint for successful electoral reform.

How do we know the system working? Open Primaries answered this in a research study with political scientist Omar H. Ali on the “early successes” of California’s top-two, nonpartisan primary system. The study uncovered how California’s system has gradually been chipping away at polarization and paralysis. While it’s only been five years since California first began using top-two, open primaries, the benefits reaped from the system are already making themselves clear. Here are five of them.

Read more

Colorado’s Open Primaries Are a Triumph of the People Over Parties

Posted by jesse shayne on October 10, 2017 at 4:25 PM

At long last, Colorado became the most recent state to open its primaries to Independent and unaffiliated voters. This is a huge milestone, made even more momentous by the party obstruction that voters ultimately overcame. In the end, Colorado’s success was more than a triumph of democracy -- it was one of the people over the parties.

It all started last November, when voters in Colorado successfully passed two statewide ballot measures. The first, Proposition 107, replaced Colorado’s presidential caucuses with open primaries. The second was Proposition 108, which opened the primaries for state and federal races to Colorado’s largest voting bloc -- the state’s 1.3 million (and counting) independent voters.

Read more

New Harvard Business School Report Says Open Primaries Can Help Fix a Failing Political System

Posted by jesse shayne on October 07, 2017 at 4:23 PM

With Congress’ failure to pass bipartisan legislation on any pressing issue, from healthcare to immigration reform, it’s clearer than ever that gridlock and polarization are derailing our political system and obstructing progress. Pragmatic, bipartisan problem-solving has given way to political theatrics and partisan division, which oversimplify issues and rarely produce the solutions we need to move forward.

This problem is urgent, and was recently detailed by Harvard Business School in its insightful new report, “Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America.” by Katherine M. Gehl and Michael E. Porter. The report compares the current political system to a failing “industry,” in which the two major parties function as a duopoly, thereby intentionally enforcing their differences and raising barriers to entry for new competition -- particularly more moderate candidates who might be more willing to compromise. These barriers include closed primary laws.

Read more