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The latest from the movement

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.

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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.

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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.  

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Faces of Open Primaries: Kevin Glover

Posted by Kellie Ryan on December 17, 2015 at 5:17 PM

Kevin_Glover.jpgThe work that Open Primaries is doing in Arizona is crucial for our citizens. From our efforts to open the Arizona Presidential Primaries to Independent voters, to our efforts pushing the top two system for our statewide and Congressional elections. 

I have heard some very great responses from people with various political persuasions that it is time for the people to have power over the parties when it comes to electing our leaders and that nominees for various political offices are accountable to all of us. 

As a canvasser, it has been an exciting experience hearing people express how our electoral process needs structural change and must not restrain people.

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Safe political districts make for an unsafe society

Posted by Kellie Ryan on December 16, 2015 at 6:30 PM

This article was written by Randy Schultz for the Sun Sentinel

FloridaStateLeg.jpgThe San Bernardino massacre happened as the Florida Supreme Court stripped Tallahassee of some political power. The events are related.

Florida schools endure a testing regimen that infuriates parents and teachers and frustrates students in the name of a bogus accountability system. Too many Floridians still lack health insurance. The cost of homeowner insurance remains too high. Sentencing laws fill prison cells with non-violent offenders.

Yet the Legislature is rushing to ... make Florida even more the Gunshine State. Bills would allow open carry of firearms, despite no evidence of broad public support for such legislation. Bills would allow college students to carry concealed weapons, despite the opposition of all university presidents and campus police chiefs.

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Nebraska has made voting a lot better for everybody. It's a model for the country.

Posted by Kellie Ryan on December 15, 2015 at 10:01 AM

This article was written by Brandon Weber for Upworthy.


The primary system we use to choose candidates in the United States is broken, but there's a proven way to make it better.

A tiny fraction of possible voters get to choose who is actually running for office. It's what happens in most state and federal elections across the country; if you're a registered Republican, you get to vote in the primaries for that party. Democrat? Same.

But what if you're among the more than 40% of voters (and half of all millennials) who are independent?

In many states, you have to actually register as a member of a party in order to vote in the primary.

If registering as a member of a party you don't necessarily agree with on many issues rubs you the wrong way, join the club.

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Think voting is for chumps? You might be interested in this system some states are trying out

Posted by Kellie Ryan on December 09, 2015 at 10:10 AM

This article was written by Brandon Weber for Upworthy


Elections in almost all states in our country come down to primaries, where the candidate who actually makes it onto the final ticket is chosen by a small percentage of people. 

In fact, in some states, you actually have to register for a specific party in order to vote in the primaries for given candidates.

In other words, if you want to vote in the primaries for Party X, you have to be registered as a Party Xer. Even if you don't agree with them.

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The Nebraska State Legislature: A Local Perspective

Posted by Robert Moore on November 24, 2015 at 1:53 PM

Nebraska.jpgI’ve seen open primaries happen in action. And yes, they work.

As a high school student in suburban Columbus, Ohio, I was a bit of a social studies geek, and I entertained a bit of a dream of “studying abroad” in Nebraska when I was in college. This is because Nebraska is home to the only unicameral, nonpartisan legislature in the country.

Upon graduation from college, I was afforded the opportunity to move to Omaha, Nebraska to enlist for a year of national service as an AmeriCorps, VISTA volunteer. I would spend the next two and a half years in Nebraska, working in local government and then moving into the advocacy world, eventually serving as an organizer (and part-time lobbyist) for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland.

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‘No Party’ popular among Florida voters

Posted by Kellie Ryan on November 17, 2015 at 3:26 PM

October 31, 2015—This article was written by Paula Dockery for the Tallahassee Democrat.

Something interesting is happening with Florida voters.

More and more people are becoming unwilling to identify with either of the two major political parties and are choosing instead to register as No Party Affiliate (NPA).

One possible reason could be that the two parties are becoming increasingly extreme, rigid and fractured. Factions form within the parties and intolerance of other views become the norm.

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South Dakotans for a Nonpartisan Democracy Submit over 39,000 Signatures to South Dakota Secretary of State Krebs

Posted by Kellie Ryan on November 10, 2015 at 5:47 PM

IMG_0646.jpgNovember 9, 2015Sioux Falls, SD—South Dakotans for a Nonpartisan Democracy, made up of a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, submitted over 39,000signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office today to place a proposed amendment to establish nonpartisan elections on the 2016 general election ballot.

Rick Knobe, Sioux Falls radio talk show host, former Mayor of Sioux Falls, and a registered Independent serving as chair of the coalition, announced that 39,182 --10,000 more than the required 27,741--were hand-delivered to Secretary of State, Shantel Krebs, today at 2:00pm.

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