In The News - Open Primaries
Blog Background

Open Primaries in the news

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. 

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.”

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

Californians like top-two primary system on ballots

Posted by jesse shayne on December 13, 2017 at 10:48 AM

Some people may think Californians don’t know what they’re doing when they vote on ballot initiatives, but a new poll suggests that voters were anything but confused when they approved the top-two primary.

The Public Policy Institute of California released a statewide survey last week revealing that 60 percent of likely voters think it’s “mostly a good thing” that they have the option to vote for any candidate, regardless of party, in primary elections for legislative offices.

Read more

The future of the Democratic Party is being decided behind closed doors

Posted by jesse shayne on December 04, 2017 at 1:33 PM

One of the deepest divisions within the Democratic Party is playing out right now behind closed doors. The divide is not over candidates or policies but over whether the party is prepared to make its own nominating process more democratic.

While the public face of the party is united against the president and focused on winning races in 2018, the fractures laid bare during the 2016 election cycle are far from healed. Millions of Democrats — and Americans in general — are still reeling over a 2016 presidential election season that left so many of us feeling that the system is rigged and no longer representative of the people. Donna Brazile's recent revelations of preferential treatment by the Democratic National Committee has only added fuel to the fire.

Read more

Open the primaries, former Bar president says

Posted by jesse shayne on November 15, 2017 at 4:11 PM

This article was written by Danny McCauliffe for Florida Politics

With Constitution Revision Commissioner William “Bill” Schifino Jr.’s recent proposal to open Florida’s primaries, a nationwide movement has some steam in the Sunshine State.

Specifically, the change proposed by Schifino—a Tampa attorney and 2016-2017 president of The Florida Bar—would allow independent voters to cast ballots in primary elections.

Florida’s constitution currently provides for closed primaries: Elections in which votes for primary candidates can only be cast by voters within their respective parties, which excludes the more than 3.4 million registered “no party affiliated” (NPA) voters in Florida.

Read more