Current Campaigns - Open Primaries
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Our Current Campaigns

Alaska

A diverse group of Alaskans have come together to create Alaskans for Better Elections- dedicated to putting Alaskans back in control of their elections and making them “more open, transparent, and fair.” Opening the primaries to all voters is one of the group’s key goals, along with implementing ranked choice voting and campaign finance disclosure.  Alaska has the highest number of registered independent voters of any state in the country - well over 50% of all voters. Alaskans for Better Elections believes that their reform package will enfranchise independents, give all voters real choice and reduce partisanship in the state. 

Alaskans for Better Elections won an important court victory against the Alaska State Attorney General and party insiders who wanted to stop them from gathering signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative.  

The campaign is now set to begin collecting signatures.

OP Senior VP Jeremy Gruber met with campaign organizers Jenny-Marie Stryker and Scott Kendall in Anchorage to discuss the initiative and offer our support.

Read Anchorage Daily News coverage

Ballot measure application submitted

St. Louis

Open Primaries has endorsed the STL Approves initiative

St. Louis is one of only a few remaining major cities (New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Louisville, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and DC are the others) that conduct partisan municipal elections.  Over 80% of cities conduct nonpartisan elections and let all voters vote for whomever they want in both the first and second rounds. Like many cities completely dominated by one party, the only election that counts in St. Louis is the Democratic primary; whomever wins the Democratic Primary is the de facto winner. 

 STL Approves wants to change this with a two part campaign.  First, end partisan primaries and replace them with an open nonpartisan primary in which all voters vote and all candidates compete.  Second, institute approval voting, an innovative form of voting where citizens “approve” of as many candidates as they want. Every voter gets to participate in round one, not just Democrats, and they get to choose from among all the candidates—Democrats, Republicans, Greens and independents. The two candidates who have the most approval advance from the first to the second round.  The ultimate winner will have won the broad support of St. Louis voters. 

We’re joining local community and civil rights leaders who are working to empower the marginalized and create a voting system which encourages bridge building and cross-community coalitions. The campaign has begun collecting signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative.

Read Open Primaries Endorsement

Read Endorsement  by Local Leaders in St. Louis American

Florida

One thing unites all Florida voters: the growing frustration with a political system that is broken, rigged, and unfair.  Florida disenfranchises more independent voters than any other state in the country.

3.4 million independent voters - 27% of all registered Floridians - are currently barred from participating in the taxpayer funded primary elections. For many Florida voters, the primary election is the only election that matters, with a mere 16% of general election races in the state considered competitive.

Open primaries was the second most popular issue brought before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) at nine public hearings held across the state last year, with dozens of Floridians flocking to speak and thousands more signing an online petition in support.  With recent polling finding 70% of Florida voters-Republicans, Democrats and independents-supporting open primaries, the state has reached a tipping point.

Florida Fair and Open Primaries (FFAOP), a grassroots non- partisan organization based in Florida, is standing with the people of Florida who are demanding the right to vote for every registered voter and is organizing Floridians in support.

All Voters Vote, has launched a campaign to put a top two open primary ballot initiative before Florida voters in 2020.

The Miami-Dade and Brevard local Democratic Parties have passed a resolution calling on the Florida State Democratic Party to change its rules and allow independent voters to vote in the Party’s 2020 presidential primary and every subsequent primary election. Political parties have a First Amendment right to change their party rules and allow independents to vote in the primaries. The resolution will be heading to the state party convention in October for a vote.  

Floridians speak out before the CRC.

Read the Miami Herald endorsement of open primaries

Read the op-ed- It’s Time for Florida Dems to Embrace Open Primaries

Read the op-ed- All Voters Vote-the Campaign for Open Primaries in Florida


Pennsylvania

More than 1.2 million Pennsylvania voters are independent and all are shut out of important spring nomination contests. In many parts of the state, primary elections are decisive, with winners virtually guaranteed to win the November general election and enter public office. This means more than one out of every eight registered Pennsylvanian voters are barred from having a say in a critical part of the electoral process on offices from township council to the U.S. presidency.

Open Primaries PA, a diverse and growing coalition of groups committed to open and free elections has launched at https://www.openprimariespa.org/

The founding members of the Open Primaries PA -- Committee of Seventy, Common Cause PA, Commonwealth Commonsense, Independent Pennsylvanians and Philly Set Go -- established this new coalition on the principles of:

  • Fairness in representation: More than one million Pennsylvanians are shut out of primary elections that often determine who represents them.
  • Accountability in elections: Public officials should be accountable to the electorate at large, not party bases.
  • No taxation without representation: Primary elections are funded with tax dollars from every Pennsylvanian regardless of whether they can participate.

The coalition is supporting Senate Bill 300, introduced by Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph Scarnatti., which would allow an unaffiliated voter to choose a primary -- Democratic or Republican -- in which they could vote for candidates.

The Pennsylvania State Senate recently passed SB 300 on a 42-8 vote. The legislation is now in the General Assembly.  

Read the Philadelphia Inquirer endorsement of open primaries

Read the op-ed- Close Gerrymandering and Open the Primaries

Read the op-ed- Political Empowerment Starts with Open Primaries


MAINE

Nearly 40% of Maine voters are independent and cannot participate in taxpayer-funded primaries. Most of Maine’s legislative races are not competitive in the general election because the districts heavily favor either the Republican or the Democratic nominees. That means that 70% of general election “winners” were effectively chosen in the state’s June primary election without the participation of independent voters.  Which is why 73% of Maine voters support open primaries.

Open Primaries Maine, a grassroots, non-partisan coalition is standing with the people of Maine who are demanding the right to vote for every registered voter and is organizing Mainers in support.

They are supporting legislation to open the primaries to all voters, LD 211, which was introduced by Rep. Kent Ackley.

Earlier this year, the Maine House of Representatives held a public hearing to hear testimony from voters on LD 211. Over 40 local activists packed the hearing.

The legislation fell just two votes short of passage in the Maine Senate in the current session. This was the first semi-open primaries bill to receive a floor vote in the Maine Senate and it received bipartisan support, with 4 Republicans and 12 Democrats voting in support, including Senate President Troy Jackson. Activists across the state condemned the legislature’s inaction.  Former Independent Maine State Senator, Jill Goldthwait, penned a letter to the editor sharing her frustration.

Open Primaries Maine is evaluating how best to move forward.

Read the Portland Herald endorsement of open primaries

Read the Ellsworth American endorsement of open primaries

Read the op-ed- A Case for Open Primaries


  

 

 

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