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The latest from the movement

Corrales-Based Campaign May Bring Open Primaries to New Mexico

Posted by Caitlin Kelly on June 26, 2015 at 11:12 AM

This article was published by Jeff Radford for the Corrales Comment.

A statewide campaign to open up primary elections to all registered voters has been launched in Corrales.

The aim is to restore the democratic process in New Mexico and throughout the United States, according to Corrales’ former State Representative Bob Perls, who heads the new non-profit New Mexican Open Primaries.

After incorporating the group this spring and recruiting a board of directors from supporters among Republicans, Democrats and independents, Perls hopes to gain sufficient support to convince the N.M. Legislature to allow New Mexicans to vote on a constitutional amendment establishing non-partisan primary elections.

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New Research shows California's Top Two, nonpartisan primary empowers minorities and young voting blocs

Posted by Kellie Ryan on June 25, 2015 at 12:25 PM

This article was published by Daisy Campos for the Independent Voter Network.

minority-voters-600x328.jpgNew research on the effects of California’s nonpartisan, top-two primary suggests that many California voters are responding positively to the new election system, though opinions still vary greatly. In their book, Nonpartisan Primary Election Reform, authors R. Michael Alvarez and J. Andrew Sinclair found that many voters appear to be be empowered by “Top-Two” — especially minority and young voting blocs.

California voters approved the top-two primary in 2010 under Proposition 14. Under the new system, all candidates and voters, regardless of political affiliation, participate on a single primary ballot. The top two vote-getters in the primary election then move on to the general election in November (again, regardless of party or how much of the vote either candidate receives).

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Learn with the Intern: The History of the Independent Movement

Posted by Samantha Serrano on June 24, 2015 at 12:14 PM

Activists2.jpgUnlike many other countries, in the United States, there are only two consistently competitive political parties that are noticed during elections—the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. The American system is commonly called a "two-party system" because there have historically been only two major political parties with candidates competing for offices. This system can be traced back to the first two emerging “parties” that disagreed over specific details contained within the Constitution; the Federalists and Anti-federalists.

However, after reading about the Independent Movement through political activist Jacqueline Salit’s book, Independents Rising, one can see that outsider movements, third parties, and the battle for a post-partisan country have been under way for years, trying to prove to Americans that they do not need to label themselves in one political party to see positive change occur.

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Letter from the President: Obama, partisanship and American values

Posted by Jb opdycke on June 23, 2015 at 11:21 AM

wtf_obama.pngPresident Obama appeared on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast this week. It was an excellent interview, highlighted by their discussion about the political gridlock and voter disconnect that characterizes modern America.  

The President said something that fascinated me. He asked a simple question:  

"In light of the growing gap between the decency and values of the American people and the cynical and partisan political institutions that we live with, how do we create more space for people to have an ordinary conversation in which the lines are not so clearly drawn?"  

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Learn with the Intern: Nebraska Makes a Statement

Posted by Samantha Serrano on June 19, 2015 at 5:10 PM

Nebraska2.gifRecently, the state of Nebraska passed new legislation that caught major attention in its political realm.  The Midwestern state is known to be a very red, conservative area. However, with some debate and discussion, it has recently been producing a more liberal agenda. How is this possible? Nebraska has a very unique structure that devises its State Legislature.

Nebraska is both unicameral and nonpartisan. Instead of dividing primaries to select Republican, Democratic, and other partisan candidates, Nebraska uses a single, nonpartisan primary election, wherein the top two vote-getters advance to the general election. Nebraska’s Legislature has no formal party alignments or groups, and coalitions form issue by issue. It is currently the only state in the nation with this system.

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Q&A: Meet Open Primaries Communications Associate Zach Handler

Posted by Kellie Ryan on June 16, 2015 at 3:38 PM

zach_handler.jpgZach Handler is a Communications Associate for Open Primaries. Zach also serves as a Development Associate for our friends at  His past political work includes the campaign of U.S. Senator Jean Carnahan and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri. Zach holds a B.A. in Politics and Theatre Arts from Brandeis University. Originally from St. Louis, he now calls New York City-specifically his bachelor pad in the East Village--home. Zach is also a professional actor and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enthusiast.  




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Learn with the Intern: How our political system became so "broken"

Posted by Samantha Serrano on June 15, 2015 at 9:53 AM

samserrano_headshot.jpgAs a first time intern, working with Open Primaries has been quite the eye opening experience. Despite the fact that I attend one of the most politically active universities in the country (GWU) and have taken multiple government and politics classes, never have I put serious thought into America’s problems regarding election reform until now.

I cannot count how many times I have heard individuals say the phrase, “The government is broken and America needs change.” This phrase is common at school, at home, and even on the five o’clock news.  With so much frustration building in American citizens, I was curious to know what the root of political issues is and just how our system became so “broken”.

Through working with Open Primaries, I am able to say confidently that the problem begins with partisan-ism and unfair elections. One of the first things I learned once I joined this organization is that 40% of voters do not want to be affiliated with either major political party. This means that about every 4 in 10 Americans identify themselves as Independent. What does this have to do with unsatisfied constituents?  Here’s where the problem becomes complex.

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East Bay Senate race shows how state politics are changing

Posted by Kellie Ryan on June 09, 2015 at 10:48 AM

This article was written by John Wildermuth for the San Francisco Chronicle


Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer beat Concord Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla in the Democratsonly race for an East Bay state Senate seat, but the real losers may be labor unions and Democratic leaders who don’t see that the political game in California has changed.

Glazer, a 57yearold campaign consultant and former aide to Gov. Jerry Brown, took the lead for the Seventh State Senate District seat when the first votebymail results were released minutes after the polls closed Tuesday and never looked back. By night’s end, he beat Bonilla by more than 10,000 votes, 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent. He won easily in both Contra Costa and Alameda counties. 

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A quiet revolution is occurring in California politics

Posted by Kellie Ryan on June 01, 2015 at 12:52 PM


This article was published by The San Francisco Chronicle and written be editorial page editor John Diaz.

A quiet revolution is occurring in California politics. Centrist Democrat Steve Glazer’s victory over more doctrinaire Democrat Susan Bonilla in a special election for a state Senate seat in the East Bay is just the latest, and perhaps most profound, evidence that publicemployee unions are losing their control over the California Legislature.

The unions clearly overplayed their hand in trying to vilify Glazer, a longtime Democrat who has served as a close adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, as an enemy of working people. In truth, Glazer was yet another in a series of Bay Area Democrats who largely follow the party line, but would be willing to challenge its orthodoxy on issues such as education and pension reform.

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Reddit users ask Presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders about election reform

Posted by Adriana Espinoza on May 27, 2015 at 1:28 PM


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!

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