In The News - Open Primaries
Blog Background

Open Primaries in the news

Open the primaries, former Bar president says

Posted by jesse shayne on November 15, 2017 at 4:11 PM

This article was written by Danny McCauliffe for Florida Politics

With Constitution Revision Commissioner William “Bill” Schifino Jr.’s recent proposal to open Florida’s primaries, a nationwide movement has some steam in the Sunshine State.

Specifically, the change proposed by Schifino—a Tampa attorney and 2016-2017 president of The Florida Bar—would allow independent voters to cast ballots in primary elections.

Florida’s constitution currently provides for closed primaries: Elections in which votes for primary candidates can only be cast by voters within their respective parties, which excludes the more than 3.4 million registered “no party affiliated” (NPA) voters in Florida.

Read more

How partisan primaries weaken the political center

Posted by jesse shayne on November 15, 2017 at 4:03 PM

This article was written by Brian Dickerson for the Detroit Free Press

Last week brought mixed tidings for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer.

The good news is that a MIRS/Target Insyght pollreleased last week shows her beating six prospective rivals (including three who have not entered the race for governor) among Democrats most likely to participate in next August's party primary.

The bad news is that a second Target Insyght survey suggests that one of those undeclared candidates, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, would do considerably better in a general election match-up with state Attorney General Bill Schuette, the current frontrunner for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.

Read more

Open Primaries and Overcoming the Racial Divide the Parties Prop Up

Posted by jesse shayne on November 02, 2017 at 11:47 AM

This article was written by OP board member Jessie Fields for the Gotham Gazette

Today the dominance of the two major parties has frozen the country’s political development along a racial divide: the Republican Party uses law and order, tax cuts and anti-immigrant rhetoric to capture white voters, and the Democratic Party depends on high black voter turnout to win elections, while failing to address the ongoing inequality between people of color and white people. Pollster Cornell Belcher has found that 63% of black people feel taken for granted by the Democratic Party. The current highly partisan political environment is producing both government dysfunction and a general sense of dread that the county is moving backward.

The American people have been so manipulated and divided by politicians and our political process so over-determined by two-party control that for ordinary people of good will to meaningfully come together requires a wholesale break from politics as usual. We should not confuse multiracial solidarity—when people of different races come together to fight for a common goal—with the dynamic of political party constituency groups such as African-American, Latino, LGBT people, and women making demands within the Democratic Party and fighting each other for the attention and resources of the party and its elected officials.

Read more

Political Party Control is Protected By Courts, Funded By Your Taxes

Posted by jesse shayne on October 31, 2017 at 2:01 PM

This article was written by Open Primaries legal counsel Harry Kresky for IVN

One of the most interesting and important legal fights going on right now centers around the scope of the First Amendment rights of political parties. In a variety of contexts, the parties have asserted their rights over the rights of the people.

How can it be, however, that the rights of parties formed by the people can trump the rights of the people, through their elected government or otherwise, to determine how their elections for their public officials can be organized?

Read more

In swipe at Trump, Flake exposes America's broken political system

Posted by jesse shayne on October 31, 2017 at 1:16 PM

This article was written by Open Primaries Senior Director of National Outreach Jason Olson

Jeff Flake, whether you love him, hate him, or have never heard of him, just pointed out one of the biggest reasons why government and politics has become so dysfunctional: a party primary system that forces Americans to divide against each other. Flake, Arizona’s junior senator, recently announced that he will not be seeking reelection in 2018. Many pundits have predictably leaped into a frenzied discussion of who is up, who is down, and all of the usual “politics as reality television show” that we’ve come to expect from them.

But if you listen closely to what Senator Flake is saying, you realize that his decision is not just a reflection of his dislike of President Trump. “Here’s the bottom line. The path that I would have to travel to get the Republican nomination is a path I’m not willing to take, and that I can’t in good conscience take,” Flake told the Arizona Republic in a telephone interview. “It would require me to believe in positions I don’t hold on such issues as trade and immigration and it would require me to condone behavior that I cannot condone.”

Flake feels he cannot win a Republican Primary without appealing to the small segment of party die-hards that turn out to vote in Arizona’s partisan primary system. Despite the media portrayal of a vigorous competition between Democratic and Republican candidates in races across the country, the Beltway crowd’s best kept secret is that primary elections, not November general elections, determine most electoral contests.

Read more

Florida voters demand open primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on October 24, 2017 at 1:57 PM

The 2016 primary elections in Florida were a watershed moment for our state. Despite spending some $13 million of their hard earned tax dollars to fund primaries, 3.4 million independent voters were shut out of one of the most important elections in a generation. Millions more voters of all stripes were justifiably appalled by their exclusion.

No matter one’s politics, the right to vote is sacred, and Florida is now one of only nine states with a completely closed primary system that requires participating voters be registered members of a political party in order to vote. Florida’s voters are increasingly registering without a party affiliation, so our election system has become unsustainable.

Floridians recognize how important primary elections have become. Due to gerrymandering and the creation of safe districts for the major parties, 90 percent of all races are determined by primary elections.

Read more

Florida's closed primaries confuse voters

Posted by jesse shayne on October 06, 2017 at 10:45 AM

This article was written by Lloyd Dunkelberger for the Sun-Sentinel

As Florida's population grows and more residents shun traditional party affiliations, voters are befuddled, if not angry, about the state's closed-primary system, including the use of write-in candidates, three local elections supervisors testified Wednesday.

“When it comes to the primary election, our voters are confused,” Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes told the state Constitution Revision Commission's Ethics and Elections Committee.

Many new voters move to Florida from other states with more open voting systems as opposed to Florida's closed primaries, which are restricted to voters who are registered with parties. Florida is one of nine states using a closed-primary system.

“We have people coming from all over the country, and they bring with them the experiences that they have had and what they know,” Snipes said. “It's difficult for them to understand.”

Read more

Colorado Republicans vote to keep 2018 primaries open to unaffiliated voters

Posted by jesse shayne on September 25, 2017 at 3:03 PM

This article was written by Danika Worthington for The Denver Post

A move to close the 2018 Republican primaries to unaffiliated voters was stopped Saturday after a majority of the party leaders voted against the proposal during a Central Committee Meeting.


Voters approved Proposition 108 in 2016, overhauling how major-party candidates are selected in the Colorado and allowing the state’s 1.4 million unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.


But a caveat allowed political parties to opt out by a 75 percent vote of its entire central committee. The party did not have enough members present to reach that percentage, making the move dead before the votes had been cast, Colorado Republican Party spokesman Daniel Cole said.


Read more

We Can’t Wait Anymore; We Need Open Primaries Now

Posted by jesse shayne on September 25, 2017 at 2:36 PM

This article was written by Becky Trudeau for IVN

Were you unhappy with your choice of candidates in the 2016 election cycle? Do you want to see a broader slate of candidates that are passionate about working to solve the big issues that really affect you and your family in 2018 and beyond? Candidates that aren’t controlled by special interest groups and big money, corporate donors? Then you need to support open primaries in Florida.

Even though primaries are financed by all taxpayers, they are 100% controlled by the Democratic and Republican Parties. Consequently, the message to voters is also controlled by the two parties.

Since all people tend to form their opinions through the lens of partially conceived notions based on a variety of factors with a community of like believers (friends, family, associates, media), we miss out on the benefit of opposing views. It’s extremely easy in this age of information to shut out views that make us uncomfortable, and it is only human nature.

Read more

In California, open primaries took the 'politics' out of politics

Posted by jesse shayne on September 19, 2017 at 11:45 AM

Last month, the California legislature did something unheard of — by Washington, D.C., standards. They came together across party lines to amend and extend sweeping cap and trade emissions legislation. Business, agriculture, labor and environmentalists all had a seat at the table.

By 2030, California’s population is expected to grow by five million people, yet our greenhouse gas emissions will shrink to 40 percent below 1990 levels. In this era of cynicism and gridlock, how is this possible?

The answer may surprise you. It’s not because California is a “blue” state. If that were the reason, New York would be leading the country in legislative innovation, not state house scandals and indictments. Seven years ago, Californians overhauled the political system so that voters have more choices and politicians are incentivized to cooperate and innovate, not grandstand and polemicize.

Read more