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This wretched election shows why the closed GOP primary is bad for Idaho voters

Posted by Jonathan Richter on May 24, 2018 at 10:22 AM

It is sooo good to close the door on this year’s primary election. The advertising in the Republican gubernatorial race was wretched. Tommy Ahlquist started early with negative ads and it did not take too long for the contest to degenerate into a mud-slinging match. I don’t recall primary elections being as ugly as this one when Idaho had the open primary system.

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Daniel Spiegel: Making a case for nonpartisan elections, open primaries

Posted by Jonathan Richter on May 24, 2018 at 10:13 AM

The two major political parties have long held a stranglehold over the electoral system of Pennsylvania. Until February, the requirements for an independent candidate to appear on the ballot were so much more stringent than those for candidates of the two major parties that they effectively precluded independent candidacies in the commonwealth.


Independent candidates still face hurdles that exceed those of candidates from the major parties, and the state remains an inhospitable place for independent candidates and voters. And there's a tone-deafness, or maybe more to the point, a feigned ignorance of the idea that political candidates should not have to have an "R" or a "D" by their name to have a fair chance to compete for votes, and that voters need not be loyal to a particular party to elect the best people to office.

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Brooklynites Testify at Charter Revision Commission Hearing

Posted by Jonathan Richter on May 22, 2018 at 2:41 PM

Calls for campaign finance improvements, election reform, and changes to the structure and functions of community boards dominated the fourth borough hearing of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Charter Revision Commission, held Monday night at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

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Democracy innovation is California's secret weapon

Posted by Russell Daniels on March 29, 2018 at 3:06 PM

Some California Democratic Party leaders have recently posited that too much competition in the upcoming primaries may be a bad thing. This is short sighted. 

Democrats should not simply embrace California’s open system, we should champion it around the country. If we want to build lasting majorities in Congress and make meaningful progress on the vital issues facing our country, we must inspire trust and confidence in the American people and that means embracing electoral reform and increased competition. 

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Want to tie the NRA's hands? Consider open primaries

Posted by Russell Daniels on March 29, 2018 at 2:38 PM

After the horrific tragedy in Parkland last month, the conversation has quickly and appropriately turned to what our response should be. All sensible Americans agree that we must put an end to the massacres that have invaded our schools, airports, nightclubs, movie theaters, and anywhere else where innocent people gather. 

Poll after poll shows that background checks and other sensible firearm safety measures are wildly popular with voters. In fact, one poll recently had universal background checks at 97 percent approval. Another survey found a resounding majority, 67 percent, support a nationwide assault weapons ban. So why then are we likely to see little or no action?

The National Rifle Association’s influence is widely blamed for preventing common-sense gun control measures from moving forward, and if we want to change that, then the American public needs to demand open primaries. Yes, open primaries will begin to mitigate the NRA’s influence because the group’s power is driven by who shows up to vote.

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For the people, not for the parties: Open primaries empower African-Americans

Posted by Jason Olson on February 15, 2018 at 10:55 AM

There is immense pressure on black voters to protect the Democratic Party. Yet the abuses of power we are seeing today with gerrymandering and closed primaries are a two-party affair. To be clear, recent Republican redistricting plans in North Carolina and Pennsylvania are discriminatory. But let us not forget, they are a product of a system both parties created and defend.

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Democrats must court independent voters

Posted by jesse shayne on January 09, 2018 at 4:06 PM

The victory by Doug Jones in Alabama -- a state that hadn’t elected a Democrat in 25 years -- was an earthquake.

Many political pundits are already predicting a wave of electoral victories for Democrats in 2018. But, if the party doesn’t take seriously the lessons of his election, those predictions are likely to fall short.

NBA legend Charles Barkley, a native Alabamian who campaigned across the state for Jones, said, “This is a wake-up call for Democrats to do better for black people and poor white people.”

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It’s time to once again give all Idahoans a voice in elections

Posted by jesse shayne on January 09, 2018 at 4:02 PM

An Oct. 12 article in the Idaho Statesman discussed former Idaho Republican lawmaker Kathy Skippen’s movement to get Democrats to register as Republicans so they can participate in the “Closed Idaho Primary.” This is not the answer to a broken primary system of limiting voter participation, and is a strategy to further eliminate loyal opposition. We need to fix the problem the right way.

First let me tell you that I am a former Republican and active party member in Idaho. I was transferred to another state in 2006. When I returned in 2011 I became aware that politics in Idaho had changed. The biggest change was that because I had decided not to affiliate myself with any political party, I would be losing important voting rights.

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Open Florida’s primaries to independent voters

Posted by jesse shayne on December 21, 2017 at 2:36 PM

In a closed primary election, only voters registered with an affiliated party are allowed to participate. Since the 2016 presidential election, closed and semi-closed presidential primaries have received scrutiny over the undemocratic rules that prevent voters from choosing the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees.

In the 2016 election, Florida was among nine states that held completely closed primaries. Several other states have semi-closed primaries or other restrictions in place. Laws differ state by state whether the primaries are closed or if the decision to open or close them is granted to the state parties.

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Impact of independents in Alabama shows value of open primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on December 15, 2017 at 1:55 PM

Doug Jones’s upset victory in Alabama — a state that President Trump won by nearly a 30 point margin only a year ago — was fueled by a perfect storm of voter turnout. And while high participation among African-American voters surely played a significant role in securing Jones the win, a surge of younger and independent voters — who lined up to oppose Roy Moore — was also key to the victory.

The Washington Post reported that 60 percent of voters ages 18-29 voted for Jones, while CNN’s exit polls found 66 percent of voters between the ages of 30 and 39 lent him their support.

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