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The latest from the movement

Faces of Open Primaries: An Independent Voter

Posted by Buz Sobel on September 02, 2015 at 2:38 PM

BuzSobel.jpgI’m an independent voter in the State of Arizona.  I recently voted early in the primary election.  I choose to be an independent because I am not a soldier for either party.  In the Arizona primary election, a registered independent must vote either on a Democratic or a Republican ballot.  This seems counter intuitive, but it is the law.  Since I generally, but not predictably, take a liberal stance, I was limited to accepting a Democratic primary ballot.  This was not a good experience.  The ballot was a page full of government offices to be voted on.  There was only one candidate listed for each office, with the exception of positions with two seats available and since you were allowed to vote for two candidates there were two listed.   There were no alternatives on the entire ballot.  Was that actually a vote I placed?

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Presidential Candidates Miss the Mark on Political Reform

Posted by Kellie Ryan on August 25, 2015 at 10:21 AM

BernieHillaryCover_blog.jpgPresidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have already made voting rights and election reform major areas of focus of their presidential campaigns. However, neither candidate has addressed that 42% of Americans, who identify as politically independent, are being disenfranchised by our current election system.

Bernie Sanders, an independent, has not even addressed that in many states the people he represents are not able to vote for him in the primary election without changing their party affiliation.

Open Primaries believes that no American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.

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Bernie Sanders Should Embrace Political Reform

Posted by John Opdycke on August 25, 2015 at 10:06 AM

 This article was published by John Opdycke and Jessie Fields for Newsweek.

bernie.jpgYou have to hand it to Bernie Sanders. He’s defying expectations across the board. He’s giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money that few expected. He’s ahead of her in the polls in New Hampshire and showing no sign of losing momentum.

Senator Sanders is popular because he is speaking out aggressively about income inequality and a disastrous foreign policy. But his support actually grows out of a deeper discord, one that goes beyond specific issues.

He has tapped into roiling public anger at a corrupt and insulated political establishment that has acquiesced in war and greed without the consent of the governed. Sanders is popular because he is taking on a corrupt and insulated political establishment, not because he has the “correct” line on this or that issue.


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State Legislators Dislike Gridlock Too

Posted by Al Benninghoff on August 19, 2015 at 12:02 PM

NSCL_booth.jpgWe knew attending the National Conference of State Legislators was the right decision the moment Washington State Senator Joe Fain announced his support for Top Two to a room full of legislators. He encouraged them all to learn more about the issue from us, he did it completely unsolicited, and he did it simply because he saw us in the room with our promotional materials. As he spoke, I looked at my watch: we were only three hours into the first day and we had already made a huge impact. And, it only got better.

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Letter from the President: State Legislators support open, nonpartisan primaries

Posted by John Opdycke on August 13, 2015 at 10:59 AM

NCSL_OP4.jpgLast week, Open Primaries leaders Al Benninghoff, Adriana Espinoza (NY), Patrick McWhortor (AZ) and Jason Olson (CA) spent four days at the National Conference of State Legislators talking with elected officials and their staff about the impact of “Top Two” in California. 

You might think that the NCSL would be the last place on earth to recruit and educate. After all, primary reform is fundamentally about taking power from the political parties and giving it to the people. Democratic and Republican legislators would be the last people interested in radical structural reform. 

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Top Two Brings Californians Real Choice in Congressional Elections

Posted by Griffin Kenny on August 11, 2015 at 1:32 PM

Graphic_Four2.jpgOn August 4th Open Primaries released a comprehensive report on the impact Top Two primaries have had on California and its politics.

The report found this reform led to substantial positive changes to Californian government; California’s legislature has become significantly more productive, all voters are more fairly represented, and more elected officials face competitive elections.

This rise in competitive elections has been particularly important in improving how California politics and government functions.

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Voter Empowerment Leads to Rapid Decline in California Political Partisanship

Posted by Jeremy Gruber on August 10, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Graphic_Five2.jpgMeasured by self-identification, partisanship is actually declining — growing numbers of Americans describe themselves as independent (currently 43%), rather than loyal to one of the parties. But measured by actual voting behavior, the opposite seems to be happening: Straight ticket voting continues to grow.  

Why the paradox?

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Learn with the Intern: The Proof is in the California Pudding

Posted by Samantha Serrano on August 06, 2015 at 2:54 PM

OPFlorida.jpgThe Sunshine State has been making major headlines this week regarding the national movement to open primary elections. A bipartisan group of activists is pushing for a state constitutional amendment that would allow voters to vote for Republicans or Democrats no matter how you're registered to vote in Florida.  

Called the "All Voters Vote” Amendment, it's main goal is to open primaries, and therefore give a voice to the growing number of Floridians who are written out of the state's primary election system because they choose not to register with any political party.  

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Learn with the Intern: California is a Role Model

Posted by Samantha Serrano on August 06, 2015 at 10:35 AM

quietrevolutioncover.pngPrior to its use of Top Two nonpartisan primaries, the state of California was considered one of the most partisan political environments in the nation. Runaway deficits and gridlocked budgets were standard. Lawmakers brave enough to work across party lines found a system rigged against them.  Both California’s citizens and elected officials tried for years to reform their election system to reduce its ineffective design.  

Beginning in 1974, California voters enacted comprehensive campaign finance and disclosure regulations thanks to President Nixon and the Watergate scandal.   However, these regulations did not lesson or get rid of the overly partisan nature of the political and legislative environment. Until the 90’s, legislators still fancied high incumbency rates, a semi-closed primary system, and a complex system of gerrymandering to create “safe” districts.

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Independent does not mean uniformed

Posted by Hilary Forrest on August 05, 2015 at 1:28 PM

hilary_headshot_small.jpgPrior to this internship, I did not realize nearly how many independent voters are out there. I thought myself to be unique by stating that I am independent because I am ‘fiscally conservative and socially liberal’- but in fact a whole lot of people say this. The number one reason why voters identify as Independent is because he/she has values that align with both political parties.

As an intern at Open Primaries, I conduct phone banking each week, surveying active voters about nonpartisan primary elections. The intent is to gather data on how Americans feel about the movement toward an election system based on the candidates, not the parties.

On a call with a voter from Florida, I asked if he would support a top-two system where unaffiliated (not just Democrat and Republican) voters can vote in the primaries too. He responded, “Absolutely not. Independent means uneducated and uninformed and they don’t deserve the right to vote.” I started to question the truth behind this statement.

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