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Divisive Politics Sparks Hunger for Better Way

Posted by jesse shayne on June 14, 2016 at 3:51 PM

This article was written by Ted Wheeler for Courthouse News Service

(CN) — The discord and unseemliness of this year's presidential campaigns has renewed interest in decentralizing the power of political parties in government.

Already this year, a member of Congress has renewed his call for nonpartisan primaries for all congressional races.
There is also a proposal in Michigan to move to nonpartisan elections and a unicameral legislature, and a proposed ballot initiative in South Dakota that will ask voters in November to approve a constitutional amendment that would transform its state legislature into a nonpartisan body.

Meanwhile in Nebraska, where the state has featured a unicameral, nonpartisan legislature since 1937, a group of 13 state senators publicized a letter they authored that chastised Gov. Pete Ricketts for comments he made about "platform Republicans" at the state party convention that they believe were meant to intimidate G.O.P. members who don't toe the party line.

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SCHWARZENEGGER: SD can terminate partisanship

Posted by jesse shayne on June 14, 2016 at 3:04 PM

This article was written by Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Rapid City Journal

Anyone watching the presidential primaries knows the voters of America are angry. In a recent poll just released, 76 percent of voters agreed with the statement that, “Public officials don't care much what people like me think.” Having served the people on a promise to “be the Governor for all the people, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents,” I find it shocking but not surprising that our government is so out of touch with the voters.

The reason for this disconnect is simple: the political parties and special interests are running our country and have locked the voters out. All but a handful of Congressional and state elections are decided in party-controlled primaries.

In many of those primaries, independent voters — now 45 percent of Americans — are not allowed to participate and as a result have no voice. This has emboldened the extremists on both sides to move further away from governing for the people and towards the endless partisan warfare we see today. In 2016, voter anger at being locked out of their own government is reaching a potentially dangerous boiling point.

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For More Inclusive Primaries See How California Does It

Posted by Sammy Kohn-Levitt on June 07, 2016 at 10:32 AM

This article was written by John Opdycke and Steve Westly for

 6/6/16 AT 9:10 AM

From our earliest days as a country, our history has been marked by moments when the people have risen up and successfully demanded changes that bring us closer to the democratic ideals of our founding.

This year, the issue of open versus closed primaries will be hotly debated at both the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions.

Senator Ted Cruz and party activists, citing conflicting data that open contests favored Donald Trump, will champion rules that bar independents from voting in future GOP contests.  

Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters, angry over a primary process that insulates the establishment, are seeking significant reforms to the nominating process, including opening the primaries.

This fight is about the vision and values of America and the pragmatic capacity of our government to adopt policy solutions to 21st-century challenges. While other countries are building bullet trains, improving their schools and providing 99 percent internet connectivity, American politics is stuck somewhere between gridlock and the gutter.

A premise shared by some is that the parties should determine the rules of the game. On its surface, this seems logical. The Democratic and Republican Parties are private organizations. Shouldn’t they decide if independents and nonaligned voters can participate in choosing their nominee?

There is one big problem. The primaries are public elections, paid for with tax dollars and administered by government agencies. Why should private organizations decide who can and cannot vote in public elections?


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John Opdycke on MSNBC Live

Posted by Russell Daniels on June 02, 2016 at 5:22 PM

Watch the MSNBC clip here


Editor–in-Chief of Reason Magazine, Matt Welch, and President of the “Open Primaries,” John Opdycke, outline the significance that the Libertarian party can have in this 2016 election cycle.

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California's Open Primary Race

Posted by Russell Daniels on June 02, 2016 at 2:23 PM

For the KTTV Fox 11 video click here

(FOX 11) - Most elections in America boil down to Republicans versus Democrats. The exception is in California’s primary. Jason Olson, founder of, is one of the people who helped change the state’s primary to a Top Two system. He believes the political parties have too much influence over how elections are governed now.

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Posted by Sammy Kohn-Levitt on May 19, 2016 at 10:39 AM

This article was written by John Opdycke, the President of Open Primaries, for Florida Politicsclosed primaries (Large)

Bob Sparks, an articulate and well-regarded writer for this publication, simply got it wrong when he offered that voters have plenty of choices without open primaries. They do not.

His premise is that voters already have the choice to join one of two major political parties if they want to participate in — case in point — legislative elections. Mr. Sparks asserts that someone should be forced to join a party so that he or she can establish the right to cast a ballot in a meaningful election.

I believe that is wrong.

Nobody should be forced to join a club, organization, religion, or political party just so they can be a part of this fundamental aspect of our republic. Registering to vote and indicating a desire to be an active part of the democratic process (as it were) should not come with strings attached.

We should not just recognize that this kind of forced association is wrong, we should see it as an unfair — and perhaps our courts will someday acknowledge; unconstitutional — infringement on the freedom of speech.

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Open Primaries President John Opdycke sits down with Pat Boyle of KXL-FM Portland radio to talk about Portland's closed primaries

Posted by Sammy Kohn-Levitt on May 18, 2016 at 2:50 PM

Open Primaries President John Opdycke sits down with Pat Boyle of KXL-FM Portland radio to talk about Portland's closed primaries

 Pat Boyle

A national non-profit group would like to see Oregon's closed primary system go away. John Opdycke with Open Primaries says it leaves thousands of Oregon voters on the sidelines, especially if you're not registered Democrat or Republican.


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Oregon 'feels the Bern' with Sanders' primary victory

Posted by Sammy Kohn-Levitt on May 18, 2016 at 12:16 PM


Oregon 'feels the Bern' with Sanders' primary victory

This article was written by Paris Achen for the Portland Tribune

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who visited Oregon twice in the past month, won the state's Democratic primary over Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


By 9 p.m., Sanders had about 51 percent of the vote and Clinton had 46 percent. Sanders led Clinton by about 20,000 votes, 194,141 to 173,198.

Clinton and Sanders are vying for Oregon's primary delegates.


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