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The latest from the movement

Supreme Court Rules in Favor of the Voters

Posted by jesse shayne on June 01, 2017 at 11:51 AM

On Monday, May 15th, the Supreme Court upheld the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal's decision that open primaries do not infringe upon a political party’s freedom of association, and that the burden of proof is on the parties to demonstrate if they do. This effectively keeps the door open for open primaries in Hawaii and Montana, where they were being challenged, and will likely protect open primaries in many other states.

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Five Reasons We Need Open Primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on May 25, 2017 at 5:08 PM

26.3 million independent voters, including almost half of all millennial voters, were barred from voting in presidential primaries in 2016. Millions more registered Democrats and Republicans were prevented from voting for the candidate of their choice. The result? Recent polling shows 70% of all Americans now support open primaries.


Closed primaries are the most rampant form of voter suppression of the 21st century. Now, more than ever, we need our democracy to be open and fair -- representative of all Americans, not just party extremists. Here are five reasons why we need open primaries, right now:

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Faces of Open Primaries: Queens, NY

Posted by jesse shayne on April 27, 2017 at 10:11 AM

As an independent, I've become increasingly convinced that those of us who are most discouraged by our options in the voting booth ought most especially to vote, if we're to have any chance of interrupting the vicious cycle of the most polarized electorate putting the most polarized candidates in office.

In the 2016 election cycle, among a deeply flawed set of presidential candidates on both sides, I eventually settled on one I could vote for in reasonably good conscience: Ohio governor John Kasich. Living in Arizona at the time, where limited open primary laws do not extend to the presidential race, I considered registering Republican, weighing the ironic trade-off of a dishonest party affiliation for the ability to cast an honest vote, based not on the fear of victory for the "other side" but on who I actually thought would make a good president...

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Faces of Open Primaries: Lima, OH

Posted by jesse shayne on April 19, 2017 at 5:04 PM

Since we essentially only have a 2 (viable) party system, I feel my independent vote is worthless since I have to declare one or the other party in order to vote in the primaries. At least Ohio lets one change from primary to primary. I remember a college professor stating his belief that it was stupid not to vote 100% for a party. But the party lines keep changing until the label becomes meaningless. I'd rather look at all the information I can find about those who are running, and pick from what they purport to believe in or have actually done. I want to vote for those persons who appear to have values similar to mine and hope that person can help make changes in the party backing them.

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Faces of Open Primaries: New York, NY

Posted by jesse shayne on April 12, 2017 at 12:31 PM

I’ve voted in every election since I was eligible, including primaries. I’ve always been registered as an Independent, or I registered same-day to vote in primaries and then went back to being an Independent for the general election. I’ve lived in New York City since 2000, but haven’t participated in the primaries due to the state’s strict party affiliation requirement. I was all in for Bernie by fall of 2015, and was actually excited to register as a Democrat so that I could cast my vote in the April primary. In November, I still thought that I had plenty of time, based on my previous experiences voting in primaries in other states that were either open or had same-day registration. After dutifully submitting my forms, I received notice from the Democratic Machine that I was a registered Democrat for the fall and could vote in the primary starting in 2017. I angrily called the local Board of Elections and expressed my displeasure, and was rebuffed. Apparently, registration had to be completed 193 days prior to the primary—that’s more than 6 months!

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Open Primaries Leaders Gather at Independent Voting Conference

Posted by jesse shayne on April 12, 2017 at 11:22 AM

Last month, over 500 independent voter rights activists gathered in New York to attend the biennial Independent Voting Conference. Open Primaries leaders from 8 states attended the Conference to discuss the future of the movement and to learn a thing or two about organizing from another.

Never before had such a diverse range of Open Primaries activists gathered in one place.

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Faces of Open Primaries: Kirsten -- Silver Spring, MD

Posted by jesse shayne on April 04, 2017 at 9:31 AM

I was very active in the Democratic presidential primary of 2016, and as I called to get out the vote in state after state I became aware that millions of voters were unable to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice because of their state's closed primary. These citizens could not be a part of a process they paid for because they did not know about the deadlines to change party affiliation--which in some states, are months before the primary--until it was too late.

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Faces of Open Primaries: Dedham, ME

Posted by jesse shayne on March 28, 2017 at 11:54 AM

Our political system is broken, has become more corrupt, and has led to an anti-establishment sentiment in Maine and across the country. Bickering and gridlock have become the flagbearers of Maine's Republican and Democratic parties, who use a closed primary system that excludes the 37% (365,795) of Maine voters who declare themselves Independents. Big money and party politics are driving decisions on policy matters and deciding who gets elected.

Is it any wonder that there are movements across the country to change the way in which our representatives are elected? Initiatives such as Open Primaries, getting big money out of politics, doing away with superdelegates and the electoral College, and creating more transparency in government, are signs that the public is fed up with partisan politics.

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New Mexico Open Primaries Makes History

Posted by jesse shayne on March 16, 2017 at 3:04 PM

New Mexico Open Primaries (NMOP) made history last week after SB 205 and HB 206, for open primaries, both passed through a committee in their respective chambers. Even with the political establishment standing in their way, and one state senator dead set on obstructing the progress of SB 205, the team at NMOP persisted. Through the power of grassroots activism -- and with the aid of hundreds of volunteers and a Common Cause poll indicating that 71 percent of New Mexicans support open primaries -- NMOP, and its founder, Bob Perls, came within striking distance of passing this much-needed reform in the Land of Enchantment.

No set of open primaries bills had ever moved this far through a state legislature, in any state, until now. Even more remarkable, these bills had bipartisan support.

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