Posted by Russell Daniels on August 29, 2019 at 2:27 PM
It's been a busy week for Open Primaries. Here's what's going on around the country:
Momentum Builds in PA to Reform the Primaries
Something is happening in Pennsylvania. As our new video captures, activists, voters and politicians from both parties are coming together to work towards reforming the state’s primary process. PA currently locks out over 800K tax paying voters from primaries they are paying for.
The PA Senate recently voted 42-8 to pass open primaries legislation. Senator Joseph Scarnatti, who sponsored the bill declared: “I think it’s certainly a step to help bring back democracy and compromise in our political process.”
To learn more about the campaign to open the primaries in PA visit the Open Primaries PA website.
Three open primaries campaigns in Florida gain momentum
Three separate campaigns to open the primaries in Florida are gathering speed.
The All Voters Vote campaign to establish a top two open primary by ballot initiative secured enough petition signatures to qualify for review by the state Supreme Court. The campaign was recently endorsed by the St. Augustine Record: If you look at the philosophical chasm between the parties today, we can’t imagine any better news...call it power to the people, rather than power to the party.
Meanwhile, an effort by Democratic Party activists is creating ripples. Three county chapters-Brevard, Santa Rosa, and Monroe-recently passed a resolution developed and passed by the Miami Dade chapter in March to not only open the Democratic presidential primaries, but subsequent primaries as well. The resolution will have a final vote at the Party’s October convention. A petition supporting the effort and targeting party leadership has just launched. Please share it on your social media and send to anyone you know in Florida.
Finally, Florida Fair and Open Primaries has mobilized over 1400 independent voters to sign a letter to the chairs of the Florida Democratic and Republican Parties urging them to open their primaries. One signer said I vote for the best candidate available, not the party. It doesn't make sense that I should be prevented from voting in a primary election because I am not affiliated with a party. Well said.
Independent Voter Project Sues California Secretary of State For Disenfranchising More Than 5 Million Voters
The Independent Voter Project (IVP) has recently filed a lawsuit in California “claiming that the State is violating the state’s constitution by failing to conduct an open primary for Presidential elections.”
The lawsuit charges that over 5 million voters were wrongfully denied the right to vote in the 2016 Presidential Primaries. IVP Legal Counsel, Chad Peace, stated: “This is a straightforward voting rights case. The Democrats erect a barrier to ballot access by insisting that NPPs request a separate Democratic ballot. The Republicans simply deny NPP voters access to their ballot altogether. The political parties are legally entitled to do this. The State, however, is legally obligated to provide access to the ballot box for every California voter, regardless of their political party choice.”
California voters adopted a top two open primary in 2010 for every election except the Presidential primary.
- Electoral Reform Should Not Further Entrench the Political Parties: OP Senior VP Jeremy Gruber and Harry Kresky have penned an op-ed for The Hill arguing the Supreme Court's failure to combat gerrymandering could very well turn out to be positive for the reform movement in the long run as the focus now turns to adopting nonpartisan redistricting commissions. As they point out, a different ruling could have given the political parties unprecedented status & control:
“For far too long, the accepted approach to electoral reform has been to concede control of our electoral system to the two major parties, while using legislatures and the courts to smooth over the excesses that came as a consequence. While this approach to reform has allowed for considerable progress for individual rights in this country, it also has contributed significantly to the deterioration of democratic governance.”
- In On Reform, Both Parties Should Start by Looking Inward, OP President John Opdycke explores how Democratic presidential contenders’ reluctance to acknowledge the corruption in their own party contributes to distrust among voters, especially independents. He notes:
“Open primaries, nonpartisan redistricting, nonpartisan election administration, presidential debates open to qualified independent candidates — these are reforms designed to benefit all Americans, not simply the organized Democratic base. The candidate (or candidates) who champion a truly American approach to political change and a redistribution of power has a chance of inspiring independents. And earning their trust.”
- In Why I Believe More Black Americans Are Now Voting Independent, OP Spokesperson Dr. Jessie Fields delves into why more and more voters of color are leaving partisanship behind and coming together to reform our political system:
“The ideological divide within two party politics covers over the broad common needs and aspirations of millions of people. It misses a more fundamental and unifying aim of people, young and old, people of color and white to reject long entrenched two party control in favor of bottom up democracy. The American people in large majorities are crying out for a new politic and so is the African American community."