February 2021 Newsletter
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February 2021 Newsletter

Posted by Russell Daniels on February 11, 2021 at 2:36 PM

Open Primaries February 2021 Newsletter


“And if they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones who won’t fight.”

-President Donald Trump, January 6, 2020.

Leading up to the events at the Capitol January 6th, there was a clear message from the Trump team that any GOP members who didn’t object to the certification of Electoral College votes would be “primaried.” 

In a recent op-ed for Smerconish, OP President John Opdycke & former Congressmen David Jolly and Patrick Murphy explore how the fear of being primaried has been used as the most powerful tool to control the behavior of our members of Congress:

“If we had nonpartisan public primaries instead of partisan primaries, The power we have seen this month of political bosses to demand fealty would be significantly diluted.  We would see more cooperation, more backbone, and less partisanship.”

Opdycke recently appeared on Michael Smerconish’s Sirius XM radio show to discuss the issue and talk about how the rise of independent

The problem of partisan primaries is getting significant ink - recent pieces in The Atlantic, The Houston Chronicle and Arizona Republic have also explored the topic. As our country moves forward, Opdycke, Jolly and Murphy offer a reminder:

“Amidst the fear, the anger and the realpolitik considerations during this volatile transition from Trump to Biden, let's take the opportunity to recognize that the rules of the game, not just the players, need to be changed.”

Watch our latest video-”Being Primaried” 

Attempt to Close Primary Elections DEFEATED in Virginia….

Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) introduced HB 2778 which would have restricted voter choice and give legal authority to close the state’s primary elections to the state’s Republican and Democratic Parties. Open Primaries Senior VP Jeremy Gruber joined Steve Richardson of the Virginia Independent Voters Association to testify against the bill at a recent legislative hearing: 

“If the Virginia legislature were truly interested in reform, it wouldn’t be to move in the wrong direction by adopting partisan registration. Four diverse states-Alaska, California, Nebraska and Washington -have dispensed with partisan primaries altogether, and let all voters vote in one single open, public primary where all the candidates are on the same ballot, all voters participate and the top vote getters move on to the general election. These states are seeing significant gains in voter participation and legislative productivity and a decline in partisanship. Virginia should consider such a system.”

After a discussion and vote, the Elections Committee voted the bill down--Read Gruber’s full testimony HERE

...But Attacks on Open Primaries Continue Across the Country

For the 3rd year in a row, the party establishment in Missouri is trying to close taxpayer-funded primaries and lock out thousands of voters. Open Primaries and our local partners are asking Missouri voters to sign this petition to tell the Missouri House to vote NO on HB 26 & HB 90 and protect the right of all Missouri voters to vote in every taxpayer funded election!

Louisiana has launched a bi-partisan task force to consider closing their primaries--which would lock out Independents (predicted to be the second largest block of voters in LA in the next 15 years), including 200,000 African-American’s who are registered to vote as independents.  Louisiana has the least competitive general elections in the country.  The primary elections are where actual decisions are made.  Excluding independents would be a significant restriction of the franchise and Open Primaries will be mobilizing public support to pressure the new task force to keep the primaries open and available to all Louisianans.  

The New Hampshire legislature held a hearing on a bill to end same-day voter registration and open primaries. Currently, independent voters are the largest group of voters in New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office, Tiani Coleman, President of New Hampshire Voters and Cathy Stewart, VP of Independent Voting testified in opposition. Their testimony can be found here, here and here.

Other states, including Tennessee, South Carolina, and Montana are also considering closing their primaries. We’ll be engaged and fighting to keep the primaries open to ALL voters in ALL of these states--if you live in one of these states and want to get more involved please respond to this email! 


National Media Roundup:

  • Times Union: Open Primaries Long Overdue in New York--READ
  • Bloomberg: The Easiest Political Force to Ignore is Only Getting Bigger--READ
  • Arizona Republic: Fed up with the GOP? Let’s talk about a top two primary--READ
  • The Mercury: Election reform empowers PA. voters--READ
  • Tuscon.com: We need to revamp how we elect people--READ
  • Carlsbad Argus: Let independents vote in primaries--READ
  • The Oregonian: Opinion: Oregon’s closed primary system undermines our voting rights ideals--READ


Don’t forget to check out the Open Primaries Education Fund’s latest groundbreaking report-The Next Great Migration: The Rise of Independent Voters by OP SVP Jeremy Gruber and OP President John Opdycke.

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published this page in Newsletter 2021-02-11 14:36:54 -0500