Kellie Ryan at Open Primaries
Blog Background

Kellie Ryan's bio: Communications Director @OpenPrimaryUSA. Digital communications, content strategy and multimedia. Politics. Travel. Photography. Red Sox fan. BAN ORANGES.
Website: http://t.co/MQZF2zpws4

  • Nebraska has made voting a lot better for everybody. It's a model for the country.

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    This article was written by Brandon Weber for Upworthy.

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    The primary system we use to choose candidates in the United States is broken, but there's a proven way to make it better.

    A tiny fraction of possible voters get to choose who is actually running for office. It's what happens in most state and federal elections across the country; if you're a registered Republican, you get to vote in the primaries for that party. Democrat? Same.

    But what if you're among the more than 40% of voters (and half of all millennials) who are independent?

    In many states, you have to actually register as a member of a party in order to vote in the primary.

    If registering as a member of a party you don't necessarily agree with on many issues rubs you the wrong way, join the club.

  • Updates from the movement

    This article was written by Brandon Weber for Upworthy.

    Nebraska_State_Legislature.jpg

    The primary system we use to choose candidates in the United States is broken, but there's a proven way to make it better.

    A tiny fraction of possible voters get to choose who is actually running for office. It's what happens in most state and federal elections across the country; if you're a registered Republican, you get to vote in the primaries for that party. Democrat? Same.

    But what if you're among the more than 40% of voters (and half of all millennials) who are independent?

    In many states, you have to actually register as a member of a party in order to vote in the primary.

    If registering as a member of a party you don't necessarily agree with on many issues rubs you the wrong way, join the club.

  • Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 15, 2015

     

    CONTACT
    Jeremy Gruber
    Senior Vice President
    (609) 610-1602

     

    New York, NY – December 15, 2015 – Today Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, released the results of a statewide survey of Illinois voters that finds overwhelming discontent with the state’s political environment, notably following six straight months of posturing between the state’s newly elected Republican governor and its Democratic-controlled General Assembly that has left Illinois without a balanced budget. Survey participants indicated the Illinois “system is rigged by the parties in their favor.” The solution to alter this political culture they say is implementation of nonpartisan reforms such as a Top Two primary election that would prevent Illinois voters’ desire for fiscal responsibility from being overshadowed by narrow party agendas.

  • Press Releases

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    December 14, 2015

     

    CONTACT
    Jeremy Gruber
    Senior Vice President
    (609) 610-1602

     

    Phoenix, AZ – December 14, 2015 - Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, released today a new independent survey that shines a harsh light on the disconnect between the real world attitudes of Latino voters in Arizona and the political system. Overwhelmingly, Latino voters feel elected officials in Arizona are failing to represent their community and their disillusionment with both Republicans and Democrats has Latinos calling for changes in the electoral system. 

  • published Illinois Voter Attitude Survey in Research 2015-12-14 14:12:46 -0500
  • Research

    Illinois Voter Attitude Survey

     

    Read the Press Release

     

    Methodology and Respondents

    ■ Open Primaries conducted a statewide phone survey of voters in Illinois from 11 Aug 2015- 11 Nov 2015. Our list consisted of an equal number of registered voters who are self-identified as Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

    ■ Open Primaries wanted to gauge voters’ opinion on the political environment in Illinois and provide voter education about nonpartisan reform.

    ■ The survey had 505 respondents, detailed below.

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    Insights and Takeaways

    ■ Respondents to this survey indicated strong favorability for reform, both of the primary system and redistricting.

    ■ There was also a strong sense of dissatisfaction with government and the current political environment.

    ■ Overall, the impression was that voters in Illinois are ready for action and tired of partisan posturing and stonewalling. 

     

    Key Findings

    DOES THE CURRENT POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT PRODUCE EFFECTIVE ELECTED OFFICIALS?

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    In Illinois, voters do not have to be members of a political party to vote in the primaries, but they must choose one party’s ballot. Illinois has nonpartisan voter registration, meaning there is no option for voters to register with parties when signing up to vote. Instead, voters must publically declare party preference at the polls. This is considered a public declaration and can be challenged by others. In lieu of partisan registration, this public declaration is used by parties to track voters, produce mailing lists, and in some cases even blacklist ‘detractors’. 

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    We asked our respondents to agree or disagree with the following statement:

    The political parties have become too powerful and have rigged the system in their favor. What we need is a nonpartisan Top Two system which would take power away from the parties and give it back to the voters. This system would force politicians to represent people not parties because candidates have to appeal to all voters.

     

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    Additional Findings

    In addition to questions about primaries, we asked the voters about an ongoing effort by Independent Maps to reform the way legislative districts are drawn.

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    For more information contact:

    Adriana Espinoza

    Associate Director of Outreach

    aespinoza@openprimaries.org

    (646) 350-1125

     

  • published Arizona Latino Voter Attitude Survey in Research 2015-12-14 10:23:23 -0500
  • Research

    ABOUT | METHODOLOGY | KEY FINDINGS | LATINO VOTER PERCEPTIONS OF THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE IN ARIZONA | WHY ARE LATINO VOTERS UNDERPERFORMING? | INSIGHTS INTO THE INDEPENDENT VOTER | PROFILE OF THE ARIZONA VOTER | CONTACT

     

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    Arizona Latino Voter Attitude Survey

     

    READ THE PRESS RELEASE

    DOWNLOAD A PDF OF THE REPORT

    VIEW SECOND HALF OF SURVEY

    About

    Open Primaries is a movement of diverse Americans who believe in a simple, yet radical idea: no American should be required to join a political party to exercise his or her right to vote.

    The mission of Open Primaries is to advocate for open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters, train and support spokespeople, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions.

     

     

     

    Methodology

    Study of Arizona Latino Voters Methodology Statement

    The Open Primaries - Arizona Latino Voter Study was a survey of 1500 Latino Registered Voters conducted from November 6th through November 15th, 2015 by Bendixen & Amandi International.  The 1500 completed interviews were equally divided between high frequency voters (defined as those who had participated in 3 or 4 of the last 4 elections) and low frequency voters (defined as those who had participated in 0, 1 or 2 of the last 4 elections) and were further divided in each group to properly represent Latino voter registration in each of Arizona’s 9 Congressional Districts.  Registered Democrats, Republicans and Independent voters were all included in the sample. 

    The sample selection process for this study was a representative random sample of registered Latino voters using a nth sample selection process including both landlines and cell phones across the Arizona database of registered voters.  The process for selecting Latino registered voters from these voter files is extremely accurate. The respondents were interviewed by professionally trained bi-lingual interviewers and were provided with language of choice interviewing either to have the survey conducted in English or Spanish. This study has a margin of error of +/- 2.5% at a 95% level of confidence.

    Respondents were advised that the survey is being conducted by an independent research organization and that we will not attempt to sell anything to them.  Additionally, respondents were advised that all responses are kept strictly confidential and none of the answers they provided will be attributed to them personally or associated with their name or personal information. All respondents were screened to ensure that they were Latino, over the age of 18 and registered to vote.

     

     

     

    Key Findings

    • Latino voters in Arizona are disillusioned with the state of politics.  75% believe that elected officials are mainly loyal to their party, not their constituents.  93% support changes to the electoral system that would foster more accountability.   90% of Latinos think their community needs new strategies and new ways of empowerment.
    • Latinos respect the electoral gains they have made within the Democratic Party, but also believe it is important to make inroads within the Republican Party.  They understand the growing trend towards independence (41% of Arizona Latinos are now registered to vote as independents), and express a strong desire to vote for the best candidates, regardless of party. 
    • Latinos are critical of government leaders for failing to bring Arizonans together across cultures, and 67% express concern that they are rarely if ever contacted by candidates asking for their votes.  

     

     

     

     

    Latino Voter Perceptions of the Political Landscape in Arizona

    What do you consider to be the top issues facing the State of Arizona today?

    Up to three responses accepted, total exceeds 100%

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    Arizona is a state with many different communities and cultures. How would you rate how successful Arizona’s government leaders have been in respecting all cultures in bringing people in the state together: Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor?

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    Arizona is a state with many different communities and cultures. How would you rate how successful Arizona’s government leaders have been in respecting all cultures in bringing people in the state together: Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor?

    By Party

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    Do you think the Latino community has the elected political representation that it needs?

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    Do you think the Latino community has the elected political representation that it needs?

     By Party

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    Do you think your elected officials in the state legislature and in Congress are mainly loyal to their community or mainly loyal to the political party they belong to?

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    Would you support changes to our election system that would foster elected officials being more loyal and accountable to the voters?

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    Do you think we need new strategies and new ways for empowerment?

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    A group of Latino Republican leaders held a press conference recently criticizing some Republican presidential candidates for demeaning remarks about immigration. Do you expect the Republican Party will take action in response?

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    Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the population in Arizona and represent a large portion of Arizona’s registered voters. 21% of all eligible voters in Arizona are Latino and that number is projected to be 25% by 2030. However, Latinos only represented 14% of votes cast in the last election.

    I’d like to read you a few statements about why Latinos in Arizona may not be voting. For each statement please tell me whether you think the statement is true or false.

    People are too busy to vote.

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    The important political decisions are made before people get to vote. So it doesn’t matter who the people vote for.

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    The important political decisions are made before people get to vote. So it doesn’t matter who the people vote for.

    By Party

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    Most politicians don’t understand or care about the Latino community, so why bother to vote?

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    Most politicians don’t understand or care about the Latino community, so why bother to vote?

    By Party

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    Most politicians don’t understand or care about the Latino community, so why bother to vote?

    By Language of Interview

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    Candidates rarely contact us, and we don’t really understand the choices.

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    Why Are Latino Voters Underperforming?

    Summary

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    Historically, the majority of the Latino electorate in Arizona has tended to support the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates and has become an important element of the Democratic coalition in the state. This has resulted in a number of elected Latino members of Congress, the state legislature, and local government.

    I’d like to ask you a few questions about the historic linkages between the Latino community and the Democratic Party in Arizona. For each of the following statements, please tell me whether you agree or disagree with the statement. 

    The Democrats in Arizona have no power so even when Latinos are elected as Democrats they cannot accomplish anything.

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    The Democrats in Arizona have no power so even when Latinos are elected as Democrats they cannot accomplish anything.

    By Age

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    The Democrats in Arizona have no power so even when Latinos are elected as Democrats they cannot accomplish anything.

    By Language of Interview

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    Republicans are the majority party in Arizona and don't care about Latino issues, Latinos should become more active in the Republican Party because there is power in the majority.

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    Republicans are the majority party in Arizona and don't care about Latino issues, Latinos should become more active in the Republican Party because there is power in the majority.

    By Party

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    Latinos are on the right track in Arizona. It’s just a matter of time before Latinos gain more influence. The Latino community should stick with the Democrats.

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    While many Latino Democrats have been elected to office they have not been able to deliver on the issues the Latino community cares about.

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    Insights into the Independent Voter

    41% of Arizona Latinos are registered to vote as independents. Among young voters, it is even higher.

    I’d like to read you a few statements about why Latinos in Arizona may be registering as independents. For each statement please tell me whether you think the statement is true or false.

    Asked only of Republicans and Democrats

    People register as independent because they feel they don’t know enough about politics to join one or the other party.

     

    Asked only of Republicans and Democrats

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    Being an independent is a way to focus on the candidates and the issues. 

    Asked only of Republicans and Democrats

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    The major political parties spend too much time fighting and not enough time solving problems so it makes sense not to join. 

    Asked only of Republicans and Democrats

     

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    Latinos want to see good candidates, regardless of what party they are in.

    Asked only of Republicans and Democrats

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    41% of Latino voters in Arizona are now registered as Independents. Speaking from your own experience, we would like to learn what the motivation is for deciding to become an independent. 

    Asked only of Independents

    Which of the following best describes why you chose to register as an Independent?

    Asked only of Independents, up to two responses accepted – totals exceed 100%

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    Profile of the Arizona Latino Voter

    Age

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    Gender

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    What is the highest level of education that you have completed?

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    What is your total annual household income before taxes?

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    How long have you lived in Arizona?

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    Congressional District

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    Do you consider yourself to be conservative, moderate, or liberal?

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    Contact

    For more information contact:

    Fernand R. Amandi

    Principal

    Bendixen & Amandi International

    305.529.9916

    famandi@bendixenonline.com

     

  • Open Primaries in the news

    This piece was featured on South Dakota Public Radio.

    SDPB.jpgA constitutional amendment to establish nonpartisan elections in South Dakota may be on the ballot in 2016. The amendment seeks to stop candidates from running under the title of democrat or republican.

    The constitutional amendment is controversial for some Democrats and Republicans. Rick Weiland is the chair of South Dakotan’s for a Nonpartisan Democracy. He says the amendment will lead to better public policy. 

    “It shouldn’t be about the wellbeing of a country based on whether or not you’re a Democrat or Republican. We’re all citizens of the greatest democracy in the world and we need to come together. There are challenges that we face as a country here in the United States and around the world—Issues that have got to be tackled. But if all we can do is stand up and beat the drum, this partisan drum, and this unwillingness to cross the isles and work together to solve these problems, we’re never going to get at them,” says Weiland.

  • Open Primaries in the news

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    This article was written by Brandon Weber for Upworthy

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    Elections in almost all states in our country come down to primaries, where the candidate who actually makes it onto the final ticket is chosen by a small percentage of people. 

    In fact, in some states, you actually have to register for a specific party in order to vote in the primaries for given candidates.

    In other words, if you want to vote in the primaries for Party X, you have to be registered as a Party Xer. Even if you don't agree with them.

  • Updates from the movement

    This article was written by Brandon Weber for Upworthy

    toptwogif.gif

    Elections in almost all states in our country come down to primaries, where the candidate who actually makes it onto the final ticket is chosen by a small percentage of people. 

    In fact, in some states, you actually have to register for a specific party in order to vote in the primaries for given candidates.

    In other words, if you want to vote in the primaries for Party X, you have to be registered as a Party Xer. Even if you don't agree with them.

  • Open Primaries In the news

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    This OpEd was written by Open Primaries Arizona Campaign Director Patrick McWhortor for the Arizona Capitol Times.

    At last, a spotlight is on the most important group of voters in Arizona: independents.

    A recent study published by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at ASU focused on the largest group of registered voters in our state, and highlighted one essential fact – their numbers have grown from 11 percent in 1992 to 37 percent today, and they keep growing. This is consistent with national reports, which indicate 43 percent of Americans identify as independents. Voters are fleeing the parties, including a majority of new millennial voters, who refuse to join a party in the first place.

  • published Movement by State in The Movement 2015-11-17 16:11:03 -0500
  • Movement by State

    The National Movement for Top Two, Nonpartisan Elections

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    Top Two Nonpartisan elections enacted. *Nebraska uses nonpartisan elections at the local and state levels only.

     

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    A bill for Top Two, nonpartisan elections has been introduced.

     

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    A study to analyze the effectiveness of Top Two, nonpartisan elections has been proposed.

     

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    An exploratory committee to look into Top Two, nonpartisan elections has been formed.

  • published ‘No Party’ popular among Florida voters in Blog 2015-11-17 15:26:12 -0500
  • Updates from the movement

    October 31, 2015—This article was written by Paula Dockery for the Tallahassee Democrat.

    Something interesting is happening with Florida voters.

    More and more people are becoming unwilling to identify with either of the two major political parties and are choosing instead to register as No Party Affiliate (NPA).

    One possible reason could be that the two parties are becoming increasingly extreme, rigid and fractured. Factions form within the parties and intolerance of other views become the norm.

  • Updates from the movement

    IMG_0646.jpgNovember 9, 2015Sioux Falls, SD—South Dakotans for a Nonpartisan Democracy, made up of a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, submitted over 39,000signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office today to place a proposed amendment to establish nonpartisan elections on the 2016 general election ballot.

    Rick Knobe, Sioux Falls radio talk show host, former Mayor of Sioux Falls, and a registered Independent serving as chair of the coalition, announced that 39,182 --10,000 more than the required 27,741--were hand-delivered to Secretary of State, Shantel Krebs, today at 2:00pm.

  • published Arizona Independents Research in Research 2015-11-10 11:31:55 -0500
  • Who is Arizona's Independent Voter?

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    Arizona State University:

    Morrison Institute for Public Policy

    Who is Arizona's Independent Voter?

    November 2015—Arizona State University's Morrison Institute for Public Policy recently released a study on Arizona's Independent Voter. 

    This first-of-its-kind study included four focus groups with 33 independent voters and 2,000 surveys gauging viewpoints of all Arizona voters, providing comparable and contrasting insight.

    The data helps define not just the shadowy silhouette of the state’s 1.2 million independent voters, but also their philosophies, viewpoints and voting patterns, and how they sometimes vary and sometimes mirror voters from the traditional parties.

    READ THE FULL REPORT

     

  • open Primaries In the news

    This piece was written by Corbin Carson for KTAR News

    PHOENIX — Political parties are using Hispanics like pawns, according to a campaigner for non-partisan primary elections.

    Armida Lopez, Latino outreach coordinator for Open Primaries Arizona, said the organization wants every candidate to face every voter in their constituency.

    “What we want is for every candidate, regardless of their party affiliation — if they’re red, if they’re blue, [or] independent — every candidate should have to face every voter in their constituency,” she said. “Not just their base.”

  • Open Primaries In the news

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    This article was written by Bob Perls and Jeremy Gruber for nmpolitics.net.

    November 5, 2015—COMMENTARY: With the recent secretary of state scandal, the last gridlocked state legislative session and the low voter turnout of the recent Albuquerque city elections (8.5 percent, the lowest since 1974) it is clear that people are fed up and turned off to politics as usual. What can we do?

    We need to open up the primary election system. Twenty-five percent of New Mexico’s voters are independent and they are completely shut out of the first round of voting in our state, while party voters have significantly limited choices.

    When the first round of voting is restricted to narrow party bases, we get a system that prioritizes party loyalty over the public good. It is a significant contributor to the unproductive partisanship that grips our state.

     

  • Open Primaries In the news

    JohnMSNBC.jpgNovember 1, 2015—Open Primaries President John Opdycke appeared on MSNBC with Melissa Harris-Perry to discuss how the closed partisan primary system perpetuates dysfunction in Congress.

  • Open Primaries In the news

    Open Primaries Arizona Campaign Director Patrick McWhortor discusses nonpartisan elections on Inside Track, a conservative radio talk show based out of Tucson, Arizona.

  • Open Primaries in the news

    Open Primaries Arizona Campaign Director discussed Nebraska's nonpartisan election system and how it can serve as a model for Arizona on KJZZ 91.5 in Central Phoenix. 

  • Open Primaries in the news

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    This article was written by Don Walton for the Lincoln Journal Star.

    Nebraska's nonpartisan Legislature continues to attract national attention at a time when partisan battles dominate -- and sometimes even shut down -- Congress and rule other state legislatures.

    The Atlantic magazine points to the Legislature's decisions this year to enact three controversial bills that might be described as progressive legislation despite the vetoes of a conservative Republican governor in "one of the nation's most conservative states."

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