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The latest from the movement

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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ONE MILLION voters are locked out of Pennsylvania primaries

Posted by Kellie Ryan on May 27, 2015 at 1:24 PM

OPpenncoverphoto.jpgMay 19, 2015 is primary day in Pennsylvania, but more than ONE MILLION independent voters are barred from participating in today's election. That's because Pennsylvania uses a closed primary system, meaning only those registered with the two major parties are permitted to vote in the primary elections.

Because of partisanship and gerrymandered districts, most elections are decided in the primary, AND these elections are paid for using taxpayer funds! This is unfair and undemocratic! Share this video and sign up to get involved to help us open the primaries in Pennsylvania.

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An intern's perspective on open primaries

Posted by Allison Minoux on May 27, 2015 at 1:22 PM

AllyHeadshot_home.jpgWhen I stepped in to Open Primaries’ office this winter, I had many uncertainties towards a career path. I have always been interested in politics and government structure, but I have never been part of a movement that lays outside traditional party lines.  It has been refreshing to be part of a movement that is not ingrained in party control and seeks to reverse the norm by advocating for open, nonpartisan primaries. Our current system reflects party interests, instead of citizens’ concern. 

I came to this office with a basic understanding of primaries, but I had no idea how much political backlash nonpartisan, open primaries were causing. There are countless lawsuits, court cases, and scholarly debates occurring across the country that threaten or dismiss the viability of open primaries.


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A Letter from the President: more freedom and less control

Posted by John Opdycke on May 13, 2015 at 1:12 PM

john_headshot_home.jpgThe phrases “Republican controlled legislature” or “Democratic controlled statehouse” are used by most political pundits not simply as descriptions of what is, but descriptions of the only way things could possibly be. We have two parties. They compete. Whomever gains the most seats has control. Period. Common sense. End of story.

Not so fast. Take a look at Nebraska, as Associated Press author Anna Gronewold did last week.

Gronewold paints a fascinating portrait of the Nebraska political scene. There are more Republicans in the Nebraska legislature (35) than Democrats (13) or independents (1).  But that does not mean that the Republican Party “controls” the legislature. Far from it. 

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Open Primaries at FairVote's "Democracy Slam"

Posted by Adriana Espinoza on April 29, 2015 at 11:43 AM


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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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