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The latest from the movement

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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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!

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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.


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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.

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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."

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