Blog - Open Primaries
Blog Background

The latest from the movement

Open primary proposal moves forward

Posted by Kellie Ryan on February 01, 2016 at 10:18 AM

This article was written by Matthew Reichbach for


A proposal that would allow voters to decide whether or not those outside the two major political parties can participate in primary elections passed its first committee on Saturday.

Right now, only Democrats can participate in Democratic primaries and only Republicans can participate in Republican primaries. The proposal brought forward by Reps. Antonio “Moe” Maestas, D-Albuquerque, and Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, would change that.

The bill passed on a narrow 5-3 vote, with all four Democrats on the panel being joined by committee chair James Smith, R-Sandia Park. The other three Republicans present voted against the proposal.

Read more

Virginia Voters! Awake!

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 26, 2016 at 6:09 PM

The political class was "shocked and surprised" at the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. They still don't get it!  The independent voters who ultimately determine elections actually pay attention to what they do versus what they say!  Once again the political class is attempting to circumvent laws and policies for their own personal benefit.  Yet another reason to become Independent and Involved and "Chase those crazy baldheads out of town"!

Read more

The showdown on voting rights in Virginia

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 26, 2016 at 5:52 PM

Virginia voters:  Do you believe legislators who want to limit your right to vote will represent your other interests?  Me neither.  The Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) has asked the State Board of Elections to administer a test in the March 1 primary – and they have agreed.  Voters who select a red ballot will be required to sign a statement indicating they are Republicans.   

Loyalty pledges are a RPV tradition.  In 2008 and again in 2012, the party tried to impose a similar condition for participating in their primary – to vote for the GOP nominee in the general election – before withdrawing it under public pressure.  They may go through with it this time.  How should Independents – and other VA voters disturbed by this attack on democracy – respond?   

Be Republican for just long enough to cast your vote.  Then let’s turn our attention to taking back our government, because the latest RPV shenanigans are not the only symptoms of a chronically ill system.  In the November 2015 elections, all 122 incumbent VA state legislators were re-elected and 79 of 140 candidates for the legislature had no general election challenger.

Read more

Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard Introduce the Open Primaries Joint Resolution

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 26, 2016 at 5:47 PM

Santa Fe – Representatives Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque) and Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos) have introduced the Open Primaries, House Joint Resolution 12 (HJR 12). The constitutional amendment would allow all voters, regardless of party affiliation to participate by voting in a primary election.

“This is a way to make the political process more inclusive for all New Mexicans” said Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque). “The low voter turnout last year should be troubling to all of us. We must open the franchise of government to allow total voter participation in every step of the electoral process.”

Read more

Black Bart Nominee: Symbol of New Politics in CA—Steve Glazer

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 26, 2016 at 2:46 PM

This article was written by Joel Fox for Fox & Hounds.

California politics are changing and there is no greater symbol of that change than state Senator Steve Glazer.

Glazer represents a new division in state politics. With the Republican Party losing influence, the majority Democratic Party is beginning to splinter into different factions. This situation has been driven by California’s move to the top-two primary system. Glazer was involved in probably the most high profile example of a top-two intraparty clash when he captured his senate seat in a special election last May topping Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla.

Read more

The California Political Model

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 20, 2016 at 11:48 AM

This article was written by Hoyt Hilsman for Huffington Post Los Angeles.

The $171 billion budget proposal released this week by California Gov. Jerry Brown shows how politics can work well in a state with the 8th largest economy in the world. It also offers a clear contrast to the political dysfunction in the budget process in Washington. Long derided for its "fruit-and-nuts" politics, California is leading the way in envisioning a political system that can actually get things done.

Read more

New Cause for Hope in Arizona Politics: Honest and Open Election & Campaign Finance Committees Formed to Support Two Constitutional Ballot Initiatives for the 2016 Arizona Ballot

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 13, 2016 at 10:23 AM

Drew Sexton
(602) 738-1187


PHOENIX — Arizonans across the political spectrum are fed up with the state of our government.  Almost two-thirds of voters believe the State Legislature has the wrong priorities and that there is too much partisan conflict in the Arizona State Capitol.  Now, there is finally cause for hope that together we can change the system and make it work for the people of Arizona 

Two committees were filed yesterday with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to support two constitutional amendments to promote fairness and transparency in Arizona candidate elections. The committees will be spearheaded by the Open and Honest Elections coalition which is driven by the fundamental premise that Arizona voters have the right to know who is contributing large amounts of money to influence our elections and the right to participate equally in all elections.

Read more

Opening primaries to more voters would be a win for democracy

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 12, 2016 at 6:16 PM

This article was published in the Florida Times Union.

There is something anti-democratic about the way Florida shuts voters out of primaries.

That’s democratic, small “D,” because both parties tend to play favorites.

While an increasing number of Floridians are declaring themselves independents, they often are shut out of deciding who will represent them.

Here’s the deal: When every candidate comes from one party, the primary becomes open, serving as the general election, meaning everyone can vote.

But if there is a write-in candidate, the primary closes.

Read more

Open Non-Partisan Primary Proposal Makes Ballot as Amendment V

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 12, 2016 at 5:57 PM

This article was published in The Dakota Free Press.

At this rate, Rick Weiland may end up getting more constructive laws passed than Mike Rounds….

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs certified Rick Weiland and Drey Samuelson’s open non-partisan primary petition today. Neighbors, you will thus have the opportunity to vote on a proposal to change how we elect every county, state, and federal official except for the President. Under the proposal, instead of holding separate primaries for Democratic and Republican candidates, we would hold one primary election in June, with all candidates from all parties, plus Independents, on the same ballot. Every voter from every party, including Independents, would get to vote on the same ballot, for whichever candidates they want. The top two primary vote-getters for each office (or, in races like State House, where voters have two seats to fill, the top four vote-getters) would advance to the general election.

Read more

Open Primaries at the National Black Caucus of State Legislators

Posted by Kellie Ryan on January 04, 2016 at 1:08 PM

IMG_4230_edited.jpgIn December, I attended the National Black Caucus of State Legislators in Los Angeles, California.  Prior to arriving, my colleagues and I were anxious about how the African American leadership would receive us. 

My previous negative experiences with the older generation made me pessimistic about the leadership’s receptiveness to Open Primaries’ presence.  Dr. Jesse Fields reminded me to keep an open mind; I agreed and took her advice.  I was nervous prior to my arrival and upon touching down, I had varying experiences with a variety of people. 

“Gallup reports 45% of Americans consider themselves independents, making them the largest community of voters in the country.”  These poll results mirror an important statement as Americans refuse to join parties because they feel their voices are not being heard.  I was honored to be a voice expressing discontent with our current electoral system and I am confident our presence spoke volumes at NBCSL.  

Read more