Blog - Open Primaries
Blog Background

The latest from the movement

Keep Montana's primaries open!

Posted by Kellie Ryan on April 17, 2015 at 3:21 PM

openprimariesMontanaCover.jpgThere is a major fight happening over how primary elections are conducted in Montana. The Montana Republican Party has voted overwhelmingly to join a lawsuit to close Montana's primaries and take away independent voters' right to vote. Montana has had an open primary system since 1912.

One Montana Republican, State Representative Steve Fitzpatrick wants to protect the current open primary system and allow all voters a chance to have a say in the primary without needing to declare a political party preference. He has filed a bill (HB 454) which would nullify the easiest claim made by the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Fitzpatrick has said that he introduced this bill to protect open primaries in Montana.

Read more

What the Pew Research Center missed on political affiliation

Posted by Adriana Espinoza on April 16, 2015 at 11:08 AM

PAwhole.jpgLast 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 As human beings we are vulnerable to understanding new phenomena using outdated categories and obsolete tools.

Read more

Meet our fundraising team!

Posted by Kellie Ryan on April 07, 2015 at 3:26 PM


The Open Primaries team has been hard at work, going door to door in California, fundraising for the movement. Our fundraising team has recruited more than 100 donors to our organization, and we could not be more excited about the passion we are seeing from California residents for the Top Two primary system. Our fundraisers are kicking but, and we wanted to introduce them to you.

(From left to right)

Read more

New Yorkers sign petition to open the 2016 Presidential Primary to independents

Posted by Kellie Ryan on March 24, 2015 at 4:26 PM

ENewsletterSchumerVideoCover.jpgNew Yorkers are fed up with partisan politics. This is why we decided to tell Senator Schumer that he cannot ignore the thousands of voices who have spoken out for primary reform, and must urge the New York Democratic Party to open their 2016 Presidential Primary to independent voters. We set an ambitious goal to present Senator Schumer with 7,500 + signatures by March 21st, and we're proud to say that our petition collected 7,534 signatures! We've come a long way, but we need to make our efforts known! Watch our behind the scenes video and share our success with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter!

Read more

South Carolina dismisses Greenville County Republican lawsuit to close primary elections

Posted by Kellie Ryan on March 23, 2015 at 3:54 PM

South_Carolina_Transparent.gifSince 2010, the South Carolina Greenville County Republican organization has been attempting to close the open primary system in South Carolina. The organization argued that open primaries allow non party members to choose a candidate, thus violating the organization's First Amendment right to free association. The North Carolina Republican Party withdrew from the lawsuit in 2013 before a the case went to trial.

Defendants of the open primary system, including the state of South Carolina and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit after the state Republican Party dropped out, arguing that the fight was actually between the Greenville Country Republican organization and the North Carolina Republican Party. The lawsuit was dismissed, but the South Carolina Greenville County Republican organization appealed.


Read more

Meet the millennials working to enact open primaries in New York: Jason Martinez

Posted by Kellie Ryan on March 06, 2015 at 12:00 PM

jason_blog_home2.jpgMeet Jason Martinez, an independent activist for the Independence Party of New York City who has been braving the cold weather these past few months acquiring signatures on our petition asking Senator Charles Schumer to urge the New York Democratic Party to open the 2016 Presidential Primary to independent voters. Jason is 34 years old and was raised in the small country town of Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. During his early teenage years he was relocated to Bronx, New York. He and his family have been residents of Co-op City since 1991. He was enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard and resided in central Florida for most of his 20's. He is a master barber by profession, and an entrepreneur. He receives all of his motivation from his two beautiful children.

Read more

Supporter Spotlight: Obama campaign volunteer locked out of 2008 primary in New York

Posted by Kellie Ryan on March 04, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Melanie2012Convention.jpgIn 2007 Melanie Whaley finally found a presidential candidate she was excited about who inspired her to get more involved in politics. She became the office manager of the Poughkeepsie, NY’s Obama for America campaign office and was responsible for organizing volunteers to go to Pennsylvania for get out the vote efforts. "I wanted to become more active. Up to this point, all I had done was vote. I was genuinely excited about Obama in a way that I hadn't been about any other candidate, and I was willing to volunteer my time to help elect him."

Read more

Meet the millennials working to enact open primaries in New York

Posted by Kellie Ryan on February 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM

Anthony_Pic.jpgMeet Anthony Del Signore, the campaign manager for our petition to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to urge the New York State Democratic Party to open the 2016 Presidential Primary to independent voters in New York. Anthony was born and raised in South Glens Falls, New York and graduated summa cum laude from Pace University in 2014 with a degree in Political Science. He is currently looking to obtain a Ph.D. in American Politics from Temple University and hopes to begin a career in academia and independent activism. Anthony was an intern at the Independence Party of New York City and has been an ongoing activist for independent voters. Read a Q&A with Anthony below:

Read more

VIDEO: New Yorkers ask for open primaries

Posted by Kellie Ryan on February 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM


Open Primaries team members Zach Handler and Russell Daniels took to the streets of New York to talk to voters about the election process. Many New York residents were surprised to learn that 2.9 million independent voters in the state are currently locked out of voting in the primary elections. Senator Chuck Schumer wrote an Op-ed in the New York Times advocating for the end of partisan primaries and encouraging a shift to Nonpartisan Top Two primaries in all 50 states. Open Primaries has partnered with the Independence Party of New York City to ask Senator Schumer urge the New York Democratic Party to open the 2016 presidential primary to independent voters. We are aiming to gather and present Senator Schumer with 7,500 + signatures by March 13th


Read more

The Cook Political Report's David Wasserman says Top Two offers path to something radically promising

Posted by Kellie Ryan on February 03, 2015 at 12:00 PM

538_blog_home.jpgOpponents of Top Two Nonpartisan primaries often claim that this type of primary system limits voters' choices by narrowing the general election to two candidates.   Actually, a Top Two Nonpartisan Primary gives voters more real choice – more power - by allowing them to engineer competitive November elections, instead of predetermined “elections-in-name-only” controlled by the parties.  According to David Wasserman, a senior analyst at The Cook Political ReportTop Two Nonpartisan primaries is a reform whose time has come.  

Washington is broken has become the biggest cliche in campaign advertising, yet the Democrats and Republicans who say those words on camera are more often than not playing a role in an electoral system that further entrenches dysfunction and rewards the extremes."

Read more