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Open Primaries in the news

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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Why don’t Nevada Democrats want independents like me to vote in primaries?

Posted by jesse shayne on March 31, 2017 at 1:10 PM

This article was written by Jessica Reeder for the Reno Gazette-Journal

On March 27, Nevada Democrats in the state Senate refused to hear a bill that would have opened up primary voting to all eligible voters. In one move, they effectively blocked 28 percent of Nevada’s voters — 413,000 people, including yours truly — from participating.

The concept behind open primaries is simple: Anybody can vote for anybody, whether you’re a member of the same party or not. In the bill proposed to the Senate, the top two vote-getters — regardless of their party — would have advanced to the national election.

I’m going to out myself here as a Bernie Sanders supporter; in fact, I was a delegate for him in 2016. But I’m not a Democrat. Before the primaries, I was registered No Party Preference, but decided to register Democrat so I could vote for the candidate I thought was best. I showed up to my neighborhood caucus and stood for Sanders; then I did the same for Washoe County and even paid my own way to Vegas. There, I witnessed firsthand the chaos of the Nevada Democratic Primary.

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No hearing for primary reform

Posted by jesse shayne on March 31, 2017 at 12:59 PM

This article was published by The Record-Courier editorial board

We were disappointed to hear that a bill to open up Nevada's closed primary system probably isn't going to see the light of day this Legislative session.

Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, said Friday that SB 103, sponsored by Minden Sen. James Settelemeyer, won't get a hearing.

Nevada's primaries are closed now, which means only members of a given party may vote for their candidates.

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Crowd comes out for 1st Florida constitution hearing at UCF

Posted by jesse shayne on March 30, 2017 at 3:32 PM

This article was written by Steven Lemongello for the Orlando Sentinel

A spirited, standing-room-only crowd came out to the University of Central Florida on Wednesday night for the first public hearing of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission in 20 years, asking almost as many questions about how the process is going to work as they did about policies they wanted changed.

The CRC, chaired by former Republican U.S. Senate candidate Carlos Beruff, was kicking off months of such meetings around the state over the next few months, hearing from residents about issues ranging from restoring voting rights to felons to creating open primaries to the importance of home rule.

Next year, the group of 37 commissioners — including politicians, business leaders and state officials, all appointed by either the governor, the state House speaker or the state Supreme Court chief justice — will make recommendations about amendments to be placed on the ballot for voter approval.

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Should Florida Primary be open or closed?

Posted by jesse shayne on March 30, 2017 at 12:52 PM

This article was written by Dave Elias for NBC

A group known as "Progress for All" is accusing Florida of holding rigged elections.

The grassroots group wants Florida to hold open primaries. They claim millions of voters are being shut out of primary elections.

They want the state to let voters decide whether primaries should be open or closed.

In Florida, only Republicans can vote for Republicans and Democrats for Democrats in the primary. So, if you're one of the 3.5 million registered independents in Florida with no candidate running, you can't vote.

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Groups urge Constitution Revision Commission to put open primaries on 2018 ballot

Posted by jesse shayne on March 29, 2017 at 4:08 PM

This article was written by Sergio Bustos for Politico

Several groups advocating for open primaries in Florida want the Constitution Revision Commission to put an initiative on the November 2018 ballot to allow millions of independent voters to participate in primary elections.

The groups, led by New York-based Open Primaries, released a poll this week that shows almost three in four Florida voters favor open primaries in the Sunshine State. The Constitution Revision Commission is holding its first public hearing later today in Orlando.

“If the Constitution Revision Commission is listening to Florida voters, they will put a referendum on the 2018 ballot for open primaries,” said John Opdycke, president of Open Primaries. “The big question is will they listen. There is a growing sense among voters in Florida and across the country that no one is really listening.”

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Poll shows support for open primary elections in Florida

Posted by jesse shayne on March 29, 2017 at 12:34 PM

This article was written by Mitch Perry for Florida Politics

A majority of Florida voters believe open primaries in elections is a good idea.

Robopolling released Tuesday from a coalition of groups that advocate creating an open primary system in Florida found strong support from voters having such an initiative on the ballot next year.

The survey was conducted on behalf of three groups seeking an open primary system in Florida: Open Primaries, Tim Canova‘s Progress For All and Florida Fair and Open Primaries. It found 73 percent of respondents saying taxpayer-funded primaries should be open to all voters. Also, 72 percent support a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences for nonviolent criminal offenses.

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Poll: 74% of Floridians think independents should vote in party primaries

Posted by jesse shayne on March 29, 2017 at 12:25 PM

This article was written by Adam C. Smith for the Tampa Bay Times

A newly released robo poll by funded by several election reform groups found that nearly three in four Floridians, 74 percent, think independent voters should be allowed to vote in the primary elections. Voters not affiliated with a political party account for about 27 percent of the Florida electorate, but are currently barred from participating in taxpayer funded primary elections.

“If the Constitution Revision Commission is listening to Florida voters, they will put a referendum on the 2018 ballot for open primaries. The big question is will they listen. There is a growing sense among voters in Florida and across the country that no one is really listening,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries.

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We must change the way we select, district and finance candidates

Posted by jesse shayne on March 14, 2017 at 5:25 PM

This article was written by New Mexico Open Primaries Founder Bob Perls

Our Legislature once again ignored the deep anger and seething resentment out here in the real world felt toward our political institutions. There is a revolution going on in case anyone missed the Sanders and Trump supporters both pushing against the insiders of their parties.

Yet, when it comes to passing important “process” reforms that could make the Legislature actually function and move New Mexico forward, too many incumbents voted “no.” I can tell you that incumbents blocking important reforms like open primaries, free and fair ballot access for all candidates, independent redistricting commissions and ethics commissions and do so at their own peril. Their tenure in office will be short.

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OP President John Opdycke on Out of the Box Podcast

Posted by jesse shayne on March 14, 2017 at 10:48 AM

Comedian Rosie Tran interviews Open Primaries President John Opdyke. John talks about how the current political system needs reform to avoid corruption in elections and how the current primary system favors the political parties and not the people. 

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