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Open Primaries in the news

The Disillusioned American Voter

Posted by jesse shayne on May 04, 2017 at 2:37 PM

This article was written by Jordan Rosenfeld for Dame Magazine

In the post-mortem since the 2016 Presidential Election, reasons abound for why only 58.1 percent of eligible voters turned out to vote, leaving the United States in the tiny hands of the most unprepared, uninformed, and dangerous president in American history. These reasons run the gamut from diehard Bernie voters having refused to choose between two candidates that were, well, not Bernie Sanders to people who are tired of the two-party system; egregious misogyny and Russian-bot propaganda worked to turn people against Hillary, to disillusioned citizens who felt their vote didsn’t count because of the Electoral College. And on.

The truth is, however, that number is shockingly not a historic low, which might be an even more telling detail about Americans’ relationship to voting. According to infamous statistician Nate Silver (who was dead to me for some months after predicting a Hillary Clinton landslide), that number is down only a smidge from 2012, when turnout was 58.6 percent, and well above 2000’s rate of 54.2 percent.

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Andrew Huston: Put open primaries initiative before voter

Posted by jesse shayne on April 26, 2017 at 10:38 AM

This article was written by Andrew Huston for

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission is convened every 20 years. It consists of 36 appointees plus the state attorney general. The governor appoints 15, the Florida Senate president appoints nine, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives appoints nine and the chief justice of the Florida Supreme Court appoints three.

The commission, whose purpose is to consider initiatives to go on the 2018 ballot, has begun holding public hearings. The first was in Orlando, followed by Miami, Boca Raton and Tallahassee. One is being held today in Gainesville and more are scheduled over the next few weeks in other parts of the state (visit for details).

The hearings give citizens an opportunity to provide direct input on various issues to the commission. If you believe our state constitution needs changes, please plan to attend in order to have your voice heard. As a volunteer for Florida Fair and Open Primaries, I’m using my two minutes to make a case for a top two open primary.

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Steve Hough: Florida’s chance to fix its ‘rigged’ election system

Posted by jesse shayne on April 20, 2017 at 12:59 PM

This article was written by Steve Hough, President of Florida Fair and Open Primaries, for Florida Politics

Florida has a once in a generation opportunity to fix our “rigged” political system via the Constitution Revision Commission.

If you’re like me, you don’t need some expert to tell you about the adverse effects of gerrymandering.

Acrimonious partisan rhetoric, high-dollar campaign financing, and a terrible closed primary system locking out 3.1 million independent voters in our state, has allowed power to shift from citizens to politicians and party leaders.

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Nonpartisan Elections in Florida? One Coalition is Trying to Make It Happen

Posted by jesse shayne on April 18, 2017 at 2:34 PM

This article was written by Shawn Griffiths for IVN

Florida voters may soon have a chance to adopt nonpartisan open primaries. At least, that is the hope of a coalition of nonpartisan organizations that are asking the state’s Constitution Revision Commission to put it on the ballot in 2018.

“We’re looking to develop primary reforms that let all voters vote and create more responsive candidates that actually represent the communities that elect them and are not simply responsive to the partisan few that come to elect them in closed primaries,” said Jeremy Gruber, senior vice president of Open Primaries.

Open Primaries is a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that supports opening primary elections, with an emphasis on implementation of nonpartisan elections similar to electoral systems already in place in California and Washington state. In these two states, all candidates and voters, regardless of party, participate on a single primary ballot in state and congressional races, and the top two vote-getters move on to the general election.

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Open primaries: combating the political polarization in America

Posted by jesse shayne on April 14, 2017 at 3:08 PM

This article was written by Adelaide Reukgauer for The Retriever

As of the 2016 presidential election, 23 of the 50 United States operate under some form of open primary. In these states, voters are permitted to choose any party’s ballot to vote on within an election. This affiliation is not permanent and can change from election to election.

In contrast, states with closed primaries allow only those who are registered to a certain party to vote on that party’s ticket. So, only registered Republicans may vote for the Republican presidential candidates, and only registered Democrats may vote for Democratic presidential candidates in the primaries.

While these 23 states allow for constituents to vote for any presidential candidate regardless of party affiliation in primaries, Maryland is one of the remaining states that only permits their constituents to vote for presidential candidates within their registered political party. This system adversely affects both our democracy and our state by endorsing polarization and should be done away with.

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Alaska Becomes Battleground for Open Primaries with HB200

Posted by jesse shayne on April 10, 2017 at 11:12 AM

This article was written by Debbie Benrey for IVN

State Representative Gabrielle LeDoux (R-Anchorage) is the latest legislator to introduce legislation that would open state elections to all voters. Rep. LeDoux’s HB200 would establish a top-two style nonpartisan open primary election system, similar to Washington and California’s models.

Alaska’s current primary elections are semi-closed, meaning voters are allowed to participate only if a political party lets them. While the Democratic congressional and state primaries are open, allowing any registered voter to participate in their primary, the Alaska Republican Party only allows registered Republicans, nonpartisan, and undeclared voters to participate in their primary. The Alaskan Independence Party and the Alaska Libertarian Party both have open primaries.

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62 percent of Mainers think elected officials more concerned with party than voters

Posted by jesse shayne on April 05, 2017 at 2:44 PM

This article was written by Patricia Callahan for the Bangor Daily News

Before anyone calls me a hypocrite, yes, I am about to write a post that includes thoughts from a national political organization, Open Primaries. As the name suggests, this group advocates for opening the full electoral process to all voters around the country, regardless of their party status.

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Open primaries are the answer to America’s election woes — so what are we waiting for?

Posted by jesse shayne on April 05, 2017 at 2:35 PM

This article was written by Open Primaries President John Opdycke for The Hill

Last week, the Democratic Party Unity Reform Commission began soliciting input from voters on a set of controversial process issues that emerged during the 2016 contest between Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton.

The commission was created last summer under pressure both from Sanders’s delegates as well as open primaries activists who submitted 42,000 signatures on a “enact open primaries in 2020” petition and forced a vote on the issue at a rules committee meeting.

The commission survey poses questions about delegate selection, superdelegates and primaries. At the top of their list of survey questions is: “Do you think that open primaries and caucuses, meaning that unaffiliated voters can participate, make the Democratic presidential nominating process weaker or stronger?”

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Activists hope state constitution commission will advance changes in Florida primary system

Posted by jesse shayne on April 05, 2017 at 1:25 PM

This article was written by Anthony Man for the Sun-Sentinel

Government reformers and liberal activists and liberal groups want to reshape a central element of Florida’s election system by changing Florida’s Democrats-only and Republicans-only closed primaries into open primaries in which all independents can vote.

They’re hoping that the state Constitution Revision Commission, which meets once every 20 years, will endorse the idea. The commission holds public hearings Thursday and Friday in South Florida.

Tim Canova, founder of the political group Progress For All, said open primaries “are good for democracy. I think closed primaries keep voters away from the polls.”

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Open for Change?

Posted by jesse shayne on March 31, 2017 at 1:12 PM

This article was published by The Ellsworth American editorial board

Maine has a strong tradition of high voter participation in all levels of elections. Perhaps our participatory town hall style of government, perhaps our small town responsibility as free citizens, Mainers generally are engaged in local, state and national elections.

An exception is our primaries. Maine employs a ‘closed primary’ process allowing only members of the candidates’ party to choose who will represent that party in a general election. Currently, 37% of Mainers—those individuals labeled as ‘unenrolled’—are not able to vote in a primary thus have no voice in selecting a final candidate for local statewide or national office. This group of ‘unenrolled’ citizens is the largest voting bloc in the State of Maine, surpassing Democrats, 32%, and Republicans, 27%, according to year-end 2016 statistics.

Proponents of creating an ‘open primary’ system cite voter frustration and hyper-partisanship as sound reasons to move away from the current ‘closed primary’ process. A post-election 2016 survey by Mainers for Open Elections reports that 81% of voters feel that Congressional representatives do “what’s best for the party” rather than for the state’s citizens. They further report that 73% of voters believe taxpayer funded primaries should be open to all voters.

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