Florida Voters Frustrated with Partisan Politics and a “Rigged System” Want Primary Election Reform, Survey Reveals - Open Primaries
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Florida Voters Frustrated with Partisan Politics and a “Rigged System” Want Primary Election Reform, Survey Reveals

Posted on April 04, 2019 at 9:48 AM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            

January 16, 2019


Jeremy Gruber, Senior Vice President

[email protected]

(609) 610-1602

Today Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, and Florida Fair and Open Primaries, a statewide grassroots organization dedicated to enacting open primaries in Florida, released the results of a survey of Florida voters that revealed broad support for inclusive and cross partisan political leadership and reforming Florida’s primary election system at both the state/federal and presidential level.

 Key Findings

  • 93% of Florida voters want their elected officials to put the interests of Florida voters ahead of the interests of their own political party.
  • 91% of Florida voters want their elected leaders to bring opposing interests together to create good policies for the state.
  • 83% of Floridians want their elected officials to champion reforms that give more power to the voters.
  • 69% of Floridians believe the state’s current closed primary system is unfair to the growing number of the state’s independent voters—now 27% of the Florida electorate.
  • 70% of Floridians—including supermajorities of Republican, Democrat and independent voters—want the Republican and Democratic parties to open their 2020 presidential primaries to independent voters.
  • 64% of Floridians support a move to Top Two Open Primaries for state and federal office. In a Top Two Open Primary, all candidates appear on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and all voters are able to vote for any candidate, with the top two candidates moving on to the general election.

Additional findings

  • 71% of Florida voters believe that if the political parties want closed primaries, than they should pay for them; otherwise taxpayer funded elections should be open to all voters.
  • 72% of Florida voters believe the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) should have put an open primaries ballot initiative before the voters in 2018.
  • 70% of Florida’s Latino community, and 74% of Florida’s African American community support a move to open primaries in the state of Florida.  

The survey comes in the wake of the failure of the CRC to put an open primaries ballot initiative before Florida voters despite hundreds of citizens across the state testifying in support and thousands more signing petitions to enfranchise Florida’s 3.5 million independent voters. Florida voters pay over $13 million dollars every election year for closed, partisan primaries according to our analyses.

"If the parties want to continue to have tax-payers fund their primaries, then everyone should be able to participate-it’s that simple. Millions of Floridians are being locked out of the primary process, despite the fact that many elections are decided in the primary. It is my firm belief that adopting a Top Two Open Primary will not only provide all citizens an equal opportunity to participate, it will enable our representatives to be more accountable to all.”

                                             -Steve Hough, Chair of Florida Fair & Open Primaries, Southport

“An open system is better for our state, our people, and even our elected officials, most of whom want to do a good job but are hamstrung by closed primaries which force them to cater to small groups of partisans. Our volunteers have been out for months gathering signatures, and the support is not only broad, it is enthusiastic. These poll numbers don’t surprise me. We can’t shut out almost a third of voters forever.”

-Jacqui Georgi, Director of Digital Communications, Florida Fair & Open Primaries, Crestview

“During the Constitution Revision Commission hearings in 2017 and 2018, there was an outpouring of support for reforming the primary system. One young man drove from the Keys to Miami to attend a hearing and share his experience of going to vote in 2016 and being turned away because he didn’t want to join a party. What you see is that this was not a fluke. There is deep and broad support for scrapping Florida’s outdated and unfair system of closed partisan primaries.”

-John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries, New York City

OP and FFAOP surveyed 615 registered Florida voters-Republicans, Democrats and independents- from January 11-13. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling. The full survey can be found at: https://www.openprimaries.org/fl_poll_2019

Available for Interview

Florida Fair and Open Primaries: Steve Hough, Southport; Jacqui Georgi, Crestview; Tom Cullen, Atlantic Beach; Dr. Jeffrey Solomon, Miami; Perry Waag, Jacksonville.

Open Primaries: John Opdycke, New York City

 Open Primaries is a national, election reform organization. More information about Open Primaries and its work can be found at www.openprimaries.org. Florida Fair and Open Primaries is a grass roots non-partisan, volunteer organization that supports a top two open primary system. More information about FFAOP and its work, can be found at www.floridafairandopenprimaries.org

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