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Time to Open Our Nomination System to All Voters?

Posted by Russell Daniels on May 12, 2016 at 12:39 AM

John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries, appeared on the with Brad FriedmanUnknown.jpeg

Then, I'm joined by John Opdycke, President of, for a fascinating discussion about the anti-democratic (small "d") problem of primary nomination contests that are closed to non-party affiliated voters. The conversation kicks off following concerns about Tuesday's primary in New York, where voters faced voter registration purges and other problems at the polling place, along with the nation's earliest voter deadline for changing party affiliation in order to be allowed to participate in the state's closed primary elections. (Voters had to change party affiliation by October 9th of last year to be able to vote in this year's Presidential Primary on April 19th!)

Opdycke explains why shutting non-party affiliated voters out of the process is of particular concern in primaries that are run with tax-payer funding and resources. But, he explains, the problem is larger than that. "This is a very serious question. Who does the political process belong to? Does the process itself belong to the people, or does it belong to the political parties? Right now, our democracy belongs lock, stock and barrel to the political parties, from top to bottom. And that is a very big problem and it is beginning to come to light."

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Bipartisan pitch for nonpartisan elections in South Dakota

Posted by Russell Daniels on May 11, 2016 at 11:51 PM


This article was written by Mark Russo for

Sioux Falls, SD (KELO-AM) Two Republican state lawmakers from Nebraska are helping South Dakota Democrat Rick Weiland pitch Amendment V to South Dakota voters.

Amendment V would make state elections nonpartisan - no more Republican or Democrat - just the names of the candidates. Weiland and his team collected enough signatures to get it on the November ballot.

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Nebraska lawmakers advocate for non-partisan elections

Posted by Russell Daniels on May 11, 2016 at 11:40 PM


This article was written by Bridget Bennett for

As the battle to unite the Republican Party on the nation level continues, several lawmakers from Nebraska were in South Dakota Monday advocating for a different kind of election style.

This November, South Dakota voters will decide a ballot issue that would eliminate party affiliations for all candidates running for state office, something Nebraska has done for more than 80 years.

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Nebraska trio backing South Dakota measure to go nonpartisan

Posted by Russell Daniels on May 11, 2016 at 3:36 PM

5730f550a3e59.image.jpgThis article was written by Dirk Lammers for Rapid City Journal 

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Three Nebraska state legislators with South Dakota ties are lending their voices of support to a South Dakota constitutional amendment that would remove candidates' party affiliations from primary and general election ballots.

Nebraska has a nonpartisan, one-chamber legislature, in which Republican and Democratic candidates run against each other in primaries and the top vote-getters advance to the general election. If passed by South Dakota voters on Nov. 8, the measure championed by former Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Rick Weiland with help from the non-profit Open Primaries would adopt a similar system for state House and Senate seats and other statewide offices.

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Neb. Legislators Make Pitch For Non-Partisan SD Initiative

Posted by Russell Daniels on May 11, 2016 at 3:18 PM


This article was written by Reilly Biel for Yankton Daily Press & Dakotan.

South Dakota voters weary of partisan politics will have a chance this November to have their voices heard.

On Tuesday, Nebraskan legislators stopped by the Press & Dakotan to promote the South Dakotans for Non-Partisan Elections group, a set of leaders from the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties, as well as independents, who are pushing a November ballot initiative, Amendment V, would allow candidates to run on non-partisan terms without a party label. It would also allow all voters to participate in primary elections, as well as Senate elections.

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State senators to share nonpartisan lessons with South Dakotans

Posted by Al Benninghoff on May 04, 2016 at 2:45 PM

Sen. Galen HadleyThis article was written by Don Walton for Lincoln Journal Star.

Nebraska nonpartisanship may be slipping across the border.

Three state senators are headed north this month to talk with South Dakotans about the nonpartisan nature of Nebraska's Legislature as our neighbors consider taking a huge nonpartisan step of their own.

Leaders of an initiative in South Dakota that would move the state to a system of nonpartisan elections for congressional, state and county offices have cited Nebraska and its nonpartisan Legislature as their inspiration.

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Word on the Street: If map-drawing effort succeeds, primaries could be next reform target

Posted by John Fernandes on April 26, 2016 at 11:07 AM


This article was written by Chris Kaergard for Journal Star.

Amid all the legislative action last week, a few new alternatives to the Fair Map political redistricting plan were introduced in Springfield.

It seems likely that at least something will end up before voters in November, which holds benefits. A study out from the Lugar Center at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy suggests that the more bipartisan — or less gerrymandered — a legislative district is, the more bipartisan the elected official is.

But with those proposals still up in the air — one more palatable to reform-minded groups than the other — it got us thinking about some conversations we had earlier in the year with folks about next-step ideas that could follow any redistricting proposal.

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Can Independents Vote In The Connecticut Primary? There's At Least One Option For You

Posted by John Fernandes on April 26, 2016 at 10:57 AM


This article was written by Madhuri Sathish for

The New York primary received a significant amount of national attention earlier this week for its closed primary, but it wasn't the only one on the horizon. On Tuesday, five more primaries will take place, all in the northeast part of the country. So, is Connecticut a closed primary? Yep — the Democratic and Republican congressional, state, and presidential primaries are all closed in Connecticut, which means that affiliation with a political party is required to vote in these primaries.

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Bernie Sanders's attack on New York's primary might be smart politics, but it's dangerous for Democrats

Posted by John Fernandes on April 22, 2016 at 2:00 PM


This article was written by Ezra Klein for

Earlier today, I wrote about the ways Bernie Sanders's campaign has begun to paint the primary results as fundamentally illegitimate. It began with his comments about how states in the Deep South "distort" the who’s ahead and who's behind in the vote. But it's ratcheted up tonight as Sanders faces a possible loss in New York that's partly driven by the fact that the Empire State, like many others, doesn't allow independents to vote in the Democratic primary.

"Today, 3 million people in the state of New York who are independents have lost their right to vote in the Democratic or Republican primary," Bernie Sanders said. "That’s wrong."

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