Posted by Samantha Serrano on July 02, 2015 at 11:13 AM
Learn with the Intern: Open Our Democracy Act
With political party polarization and gridlock on the rise in the United States, Congress now has an eighty percent disapproval rating from the American people. Over the past four years, Congress' approval ratings have been among the lowest Gallup has measured. Representative Democracy in our country appears to be falling apart, and citizens around the country are demanding change.
Republican Congressman John Delaney (MD-6) has a multi-step plan to fix our broken system. Delaney has recently re-introduced the Open Our Democracy Act. If passed, this bill would benefit U.S. citizens in three major ways.
First, the bill would enact Top Two nonpartisan primaries for all congressional and senate elections in the United States. Under this system, all candidates, regardless of party preference, appear on a single primary ballot and each voter, including independents, may vote for any candidate during the primary. The top two candidates then proceed to the general election.
Next, it would make Election Day a national holiday, increasing voter participation by providing millions of workers with the flexibility they need to get to the polls and cast their votes. Typically, polls close around 6 pm which doesn’t give the working class much time to commute home, pick up their kids, or get dinner on the table before heading to vote.
Finally, the bill seeks to require the Comptroller General (GAO) to analyze the feasibility and desirability of enacting national standards and criteria for congressional redistricting through the creation of independent redistricting commissions. How will this change the election process? Redistricting reform would stop gerrymandering. Gerrymandering is manipulating the boundaries of an electoral constituency so as to favor one party or class. With the aid of this bill, no district will will be “safe” anymore. Real competition will exist where a candidate can no longer just please the most extreme members of his or her party, but the candidate will have to compromise on ideological views to win the support of all voters, including centrists and independents.
Congressman Delaney wrote an article in the Washington Post describing how our electoral process has created perverse incentives that have warped our democracy and empowered special interests and a vocal minority. Delaney believes, “The Congress that works best for America is the Congress that best reflects America”, and plans to use this Act to help re-shape America’s electoral process.
President of Open Primaries, John Opdycke, is excited to announce our new partnership with Congressman Delaney to build public support for the Open Our Democracy Act. Read our press release and see how he believes that,
“Congressman Delaney sees from the inside just how detrimental partisan politics is to effective legislating. Open Primaries is connected to the growing grassroots movement to change the system to let all voters vote in the primaries so the people, not the parties, have the power.”
Closed partisan primaries exclude millions of independent voters and contribute to the toxic partisanship in Washington and the United States overall. The time has come to significantly reform our primary system so that the voters, not the parties, have the power. The Open Our Democracy Act is an important piece of legislation and deserves support!
Please take a moment and send a letter to your U.S. Representatives in support of this bill, and give them a call or write them a personal letter. Then let us know how you can help build local support for this national campaign.
I encourage you to exercise your right to demand change through your support of this bill.
Originally from New Jersey, Samantha Serrano is currently a rising sophomore at The George Washington University located in Washington, DC. Samantha has had a passion for government and politics throughout her educational journey, which sparked her interest to intern at Open Primaries Inc. in Manhattan. In high school, Samantha was very actively involved in extracurricular activities as the Student Government President, Class Council Secretary, and Treasurer of the New Jersey Assoc. of Student Councils while maintaining her GPA to graduate in the top 2% of her class. Now attending one of the most politically active schools in the country, Samantha plans to take the experience she gains from interning at Open Primaries Inc. and apply it to her future endeavors at school as well as her future career.