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The latest from the movement

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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Faces of Open Primaries: Conover, NC

Posted by Jesse Shayne on March 15, 2017 at 3:08 PM

I was raised in a Republican household. Both sides of my family had been party members as long as anyone could remember. When I finally reached the age of eighteen, there was no question what I would register as. I reached political maturity watching the unfolding of the Watergate scandal and the aftermath.

Over time, I became more informed and critical of the party line. By the time of George H.W. Bush I was mistrustful of the conservative wing taking over the GOP. I was a moderate in the stamp of the by-now-disappearing Rockefeller Republican. I felt like a stranger in my own party. I registered as an independent for the first time in 1991. I am registered as an independent still.


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Activists Pressuring New Party Leadership to Support Open Primaries

Posted by Jesse Shayne on February 16, 2017 at 1:50 PM

Millions of Americans were outraged over the 2016 presidential primaries and what they see as a rigged system where the establishment has a disproportionate amount of control. Over 26 million registered voters were prohibited from participating in the primaries last year. Yet, even as millions of voters continue to leave both parties in droves, the RNC and DNC seem wedded to the status quo.

With both parties set to select new chairs, Open Primaries has been busy pressuring the incoming leaders of the RNC and DNC to respond to the will of the people, and open the primaries in every state. Nearly 60,000 Americans have already signed their petition.

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Faces of Open Primaries: Professor Charles young

Posted by Jesse Shayne on January 18, 2017 at 2:53 PM

Our closed primary system in Oregon essentially disenfranchises from meaningful participation in the primary elections some thirty per cent of Oregon voters (700,000 people) who do not identify with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

Independents like myself should not have to become party members in order to vote in these publicly funded primaries either here or in other closed primary states. Besides being fundamentally undemocratic, a closed primary’s typical consequence is that only some 20% of a state’s voters turn out to vote, and those that do are usually the most ideologically conservative or liberal.

I have signed the petition urging citizens to support the national movement to open up primaries across the U.S. and would like to urge others to also support this worthy political reform effort.

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Faces of Open Primaries: Sheree T

Posted by Jesse Shayne on January 03, 2017 at 10:56 AM

"We Americans choose to live where we can find work. As a result, I'm a liberal who has lived in multiple conservative states over the past two decades.

My interest and growing concerns in politics has brought me to the realization that unless I change my "official" party affiliation, I will have no voice in primary elections. So, in 2020, I will officially become a RINO (Republican In Name Only) unless my RED state embraces Open Primaries."

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