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COMMENTARY: The Supreme Court and Voting Rights

Posted by jesse shayne on June 08, 2017 at 10:46 AM

This article was written by Open Primaries Spokesperson Dr. Jessie Fields for the Chicago Defender

History shows that ideals are oft times contradicted in practice; there’s no greater example than in a democracy that held Blacks as slaves but was founded on the idea expressed in the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”. Thus the highest court in the land has a mixed and complex history of rulings on issues of citizenship and voting rights, rulings that are influenced in unpredictable ways by social and political change in the country.

One of the most fundamental changes in the country today is the fact that more and more Americans choose not to affiliate with either the Republican or Democratic Party—44 percent of the American electorate are now independents.

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Prediction: New York Lawmakers Won’t Do Anything to End Voter Suppression

Posted by jesse shayne on June 06, 2017 at 10:43 AM

This article was written by Shawn M. Griffiths for IVN

New York voters are not likely to get a win in the current state legislative session. That is, at least, the prediction of an article published in the Gotham Gazette Monday. 

The legislative session ends on June 21, yet the only legislation passed by both chambers that even remotely deals with election reform is a bill that allows poll workers to work 8-hour, half-day shifts.

That is good news for poll workers, but it does nothing to better enfranchise voters.

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Let's experiment with open primaries in Philadelphia

Posted by jesse shayne on May 30, 2017 at 10:15 AM

This article was written by Chris Satullo for

Would you pay happily for a product that offers skimpy choices and spotty performance, one you suspect is a culprit behind societal trends that dismay you?

No, right?

Then please explain why our tax dollars continue to flow, without public debate, to pay for the primary elections staged in Pennsylvania by the Democratic and Republican parties.

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Voters shouldn’t ignore what the parties are doing – we need reform

Posted by jesse shayne on May 25, 2017 at 10:20 AM

This article was written by Tiani X. Coleman for the Concord Monitor

With so many people reactively following the president’s every move – to support, resist or even impeach him – I hope we haven’t taken our eye off a critical need exposed in the 2016 election: that we must reform our electoral process. After 2016 put a bright spotlight on “rigged,” unfair party rules and practices that produced candidates disliked by most voters, we can’t ignore what the political parties are up to.

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The People of Florida Have Spoken: They Demand Open Primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on May 19, 2017 at 1:19 PM

This article was written by Open Primaries Digital Director Jesse Shayne for IVN

A true demonstration of democracy is underway in Florida. Over the past two months, the Constitution Revision Commission — a political body that will select constitutional amendments to place on the 2018 ballot in Florida — held nine public hearings across the state where voters could speak out about the issues they want addressed. The final hearing took place in Tampa Wednesday night.

Thus far, one of the most popular topics of conversation was open primaries. Dozens of voters turned out at the initial hearings to express how they felt disenfranchised by closed primaries and opined on the unconstitutionality of forcing taxpayers to fund primaries they can’t vote in. But that’s far from all they had to say.

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Voter Suppression in Deep-Blue New York

Posted by jesse shayne on May 18, 2017 at 10:28 AM

This article was written by Francis Barry for Bloomberg View

Democrats are celebrating the Supreme Court’s refusal to review an appeals court decision striking down a North Carolina law for violating the Voting Rights Act. Some liberal media outlets called it America’s “worst voter suppression law.” I was happy to see it go, too. But “worst” in the nation? As a New Yorker, I take exception.

A fair examination of the record shows that no state does a better job discouraging voters from going to the polls than New York.

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Justices Reject Challenge to Hawaii, Montana Open Primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on May 15, 2017 at 4:01 PM

This article was published by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court has turned away challenges to open primaries in Hawaii and Montana that allow voters to take part in party primary elections regardless of their political affiliations.

The justices did not comment Monday in leaving in place rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the states' open primaries.

Democrats in Hawaii and Republicans in Montana had challenged the open primaries as a violation of the parties' constitutional right to freedom of association.

Voters do not have to be affiliated with a political party to cast ballots in primary elections.

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South Dakota Voters May See Open Primaries Amendment in 2018

Posted by jesse shayne on May 11, 2017 at 5:48 PM

This article was written by James Nord of the Associated Press

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Supporters of a proposed constitutional amendment that would switch South Dakota to an open primary system for some political offices say they plan to put the measure before voters in 2018.

The effort includes veterans of a campaign last year for a similar amendment that didn't pass, but backers of the new proposal say they've learned lessons from the previous push. Joe Kirby, chairman of the group proposing the constitutional amendment, said it would apply to primaries including those for the state Legislature, governor and congressional offices.

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Posted by jesse shayne on May 11, 2017 at 3:53 PM

This article was written by Ernie Smith for Now Associations

The nonprofit advocacy group New Mexico Open Primaries, led by a former Democratic legislator, is one of a handful of efforts nationwide to encourage open-primary voting for independents.

Could open primaries give voters more say over who gets in office? An advocacy group in New Mexico is making the case for the Land of Enchantment to embrace them.

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Consider an open primary amendment

Posted by jesse shayne on May 10, 2017 at 4:15 PM

This article was published by the Citrus County Chronicle editorial board

Florida has closed primary elections. Under this system, which just a handful of other states use, only voters registered in one of the two major parties may vote in that party’s primary. The political parties like the closed system, but we don’t.

In Florida elections, an exception to the closed system occurs when all candidates belong to a single party. In that case, it becomes an open election in which everyone, regardless of party affiliation, may vote. It essentially becomes the general election for that office.

This system is ripe for manipulation, and we’ve seen it right here in Citrus County.

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