- Caitlin Kelly published Intern's Insight: Ready to Amend, Florida Fights for Fair Primaries in Blog 2015-07-29 12:28:01 -0400
- Caitlin Kelly published Intern's Insight: SCOTUS Draws the Line on Redistricting in Arizona in Blog 2015-07-02 14:43:21 -0400
- Caitlin Kelly published Are voting rights for all voters? Let's ask Hillary in Blog 2015-06-30 12:06:55 -0400
- Caitlin Kelly published Poll: Should New Jersey and Pennsylvania switch to open primary elections? in Blog 2015-06-26 11:13:16 -0400
- Caitlin Kelly published Philly elections need a shot of 21st-century reforms in Blog 2015-06-26 11:12:49 -0400
- Caitlin Kelly published Corrales-Based Campaign May Bring Open Primaries to New Mexico in Blog 2015-06-26 11:12:20 -0400
As one of the twelve states that follows a strict closed primary system, Florida looks to take a stand with the introduction of the All Voters Vote amendment. Florida’s current system allows its registered 4.2 million Republicans and 4.6 million Democrats to participate in primary elections, but denies the other 3.2 million that same right.
In the past ten years, the number of Florida voters who have decided not to affiliate with one of the two main parties has increased by 1 million, while Democrats have seen an increase of 300,000 and Republicans have seen a 200,000 increase.
So why is Florida silencing the fastest growing group of constituents? Not only in their state, but a trend that has been sweeping the nation.
A Millennial’s Perspective: Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission
In 2000, the state of Arizona created an independent commission of five citizens to take over the job of redistricting, drawing electoral district boundaries. This process, most commonly executed by State Legislatures, is highly politicized and conducted in such a way that is fueled by self-interest rather than for the benefit of the People. The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission was formed to combat this issue, in hopes of bringing attention back to the needs of the citizens rather than placing focus on the game of gerrymandering.
The State Legislature of Arizona recently challenged the existence of this commission, claiming it was unconstitutional. This argument stood on the language of Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states “[t]he Times, Places, and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing [sic] Senators.”
Naturally, Ted brought this up on the air, and we had a disagreement about whether independents feel apathetic (his view) or feel alienated (my view). The extreme culture of partisanship makes most people feel powerless, because they are.
The increase in independent voters — now 35 percent of Arizonans and 42 percent of Americans — is a statement about that powerlessness. When people choose a political identity that is other than what the parties want, it is an act of resistance, a step towards changing the partisan nature of the system.
New Jersey voters going to the polls in Tuesday's primary election were limited in their choices: Republicans could vote for Republicans, Democrats could vote for Democrats.
Period. That's the way a "closed" primary works, and it effectively prevents almost half of the state's voters, who are registered as independents or other parties, from having a say in nominating candidates.
Pennsylvania runs under the same closed system, which proponents say is essential to maintain a healthy two-party system.
But what we have now is an unhealthy two-party system, based on voter interest. Turnout in non-presidential years is embarrassing. In the May 19 Pennsylvania primary, less than 13 percent of registered voters in Northampton County took part.
For the Committee of Seventy, Philadelphia’s long-standing government reform advocate, election day is like Christmas Day and the Super Bowl rolled into one. It comes after a long season of working to help educate, inform, and engage voters about what we believe are the hugely significant choices we all make about who will lead us for the next four years.
This past primary election season, we partnered with 27 different civic leadership groups to produce 15 forums and events that drew more than 5,000 Philadelphians. Our heavily trafficked website drew 53,000 visitors in search of information on candidates and issues and on where and when to vote.
A statewide campaign to open up primary elections to all registered voters has been launched in Corrales.
The aim is to restore the democratic process in New Mexico and throughout the United States, according to Corrales’ former State Representative Bob Perls, who heads the new non-profit New Mexican Open Primaries.
After incorporating the group this spring and recruiting a board of directors from supporters among Republicans, Democrats and independents, Perls hopes to gain sufficient support to convince the N.M. Legislature to allow New Mexicans to vote on a constitutional amendment establishing non-partisan primary elections.