- Kellie Ryan published Presidential Candidates Miss the Mark on Political Reform in Blog 2015-08-25 10:21:20 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published Groundbreaking Report Released on the Transformative Effects of Primary Reform in Press Releases 2015-08-04 10:34:40 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published Here's a foolproof way to increase political participation in Open Primaries in the News 2015-07-30 17:12:51 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published Faces of Open Primaries: When I refuse to affiliate, I have no voice in Blog 2015-07-24 10:37:53 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published Group proposes amendment to open Florida's primaries to all voters in Open Primaries in the News 2015-07-22 10:56:36 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published East Bay Senate race shows how state politics are changing in Blog 2015-07-09 10:48:16 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published The Supreme Court Grants the American People the Right to Shape their own Government Institutions in Open Primaries in the News 2015-07-07 15:08:29 -0400
- Kellie Ryan published New Poll Shows July 4th is "Independents" Day in Philadelphia as Voters Express Support for Nonpartisan Election Reforms in Press Releases 2015-07-01 17:05:53 -0400
- 73 percent of voters polled think there are definitely flaws in Philadelphia’s closed primary system.
- 88 percent of voters polled support changing Philadelphia’s primary system to either an open primary system or to a Top Two system.
- Kellie Ryan published Legal Corner: What the SCOTUS decision on redistricting in Arizona means for America's voters in Blog 2015-07-01 14:51:01 -0400
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have already made voting rights and election reform major areas of focus of their presidential campaigns. However, neither candidate has addressed that 42% of Americans, who identify as politically independent, are being disenfranchised by our current election system.
Bernie Sanders, an independent, has not even addressed that in many states the people he represents are not able to vote for him in the primary election without changing their party affiliation.
Open Primaries believes that no American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.
Thanks for your help!
Thank you for supporting H.R. 2655, U.S. Congressman John Delaney's Open Our Democracy Act.
At a time when 42% of Americans are independents, no American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote. Elections should belong to the people, not the parties. Help us open our democracy!
Here's what you can do to help us out:
Ask your family and friends to contact their representatives
Download a one pager about the bill to share with family and friends
Download and print an Open Primaries promotional sign to use at house parties or hand out at community events
SACRAMENTO — California’s political system has long been the focus of tinkerers who want to make it more responsive to the voters. This fixation goes back at least to the Progressive Era, when Gov. Hiram Johnson helped usher in reforms that are still the subject of debate today — the initiative, recall and referendum.
The goal, of course, was to give the voting public — rather than special interests and party bosses — a greater say in how the state is governed.
One of the more significant recent California electoral reforms to attempt this is the “top two” primary, which was approved by voters (Proposition 14) in 2010 and first implemented in a 2011 special election. Previously, for most races the parties nominated their candidates in a primary election, and then the winners — Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, etc. — would face off against each other in the November general election.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEAugust 4, 2015CONTACTKellie RyanCommunications Director(646) 205-0293
Groundbreaking Report Released on the Transformative Effects of Primary Reform
Open Primaries Details the Early Successes from California’s Adoption of a Top Two Nonpartisan Primary
New York, NY — August 4, 2015 — In 2010, voters in California enacted a “Top Two” nonpartisan primary system, allowing all voters-whether registered to a party or not- to participate in primary elections.
Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, has released a new report outlining the deep and meaningful impact that this change has had on California politics.
A Quiet Revolution: The Early Success of California’s Top Two Nonpartisan Primary outlines the sea change in voter access and representation, competitive elections, and a new, more cooperative state legislature engaged in cross party dialogue.
The authors of the reform are Jason Olson, the President of Independentvoice.org, a San Francisco based organization of independent voters, and Dr. Omar Ali, a history professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and expert scholar on populist democracy movements.
The fastest growing segment of voters in both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania as a whole are independents.
Conventional wisdom would have you believe that independents are less engaged than their partisan brethren.
They are referred to by most pundits as "fence sitters," "leaners" and other creative terms that highlight their essential wishy-washiness.
After a short melody of mouse clicks my transformation is complete. Now the state of Colorado thinks I'm a Democrat, but my loyalty is a ruse. Despite my ease, this trick required sacrifice. I had to swallow my ideological pride, disown my integrity, and align myself with an organization I neither trust nor respect. In exchange I may vote for my candidate in the primaries; through a single dishonest act, I am permitted to engage in our democracy.
TALLAHASSEE — Armed with data showing that the fastest growing segment of Florida’s electorate is choosing no party affiliation, a bipartisan group of activists is pushing for a constitutional amendment to open Florida’s closed primary system to all voters.
The All Voters Vote amendment will be delivered Wednesday to the Florida Division of Elections with the hope of getting enough signatures to place it on the 2016 ballot.
Miami lawyer Gene Stearns, who is leading the effort, said the goal is to encourage elected officials to listen to a broader swath of voters by giving voice to the growing number of Floridians who are written out of the state’s primary election system because they choose not to register with any political party.
Philly voters demand open primaries
In May of 2015, in response to a surge of articles and editorials opining dissatisfaction with the closed primary system, the Open Primaries phone outreach team began calling voters in Philadelphia in an effort to measure this dissatisfaction, and provide outreach about reform options. Our call list consisted of 20,000 unaffiliated or Independent voters living in the Metro Philly area, who voted in at least 1 of the last three elections.
Conclusions and Takeaways
The voters we spoke to in Philadelphia were not the apathetic unengaged independents that the media would lead you to believe they are. By and large, these voters knew about the closed partisan system, and have been fed up with it for years.
Most notable about this phone operation was the impact on the voter from the beginning to the end of the survey. This transformation is evidenced in the responses to questions at different points of the survey. For example, 71% of those who indicated they hadn’t spent much time thinking about the primary system ended up indicating support for either Open or Top Two primaries after voter education was provided. Moreover, 76% of those who initially thought the closed primary system worked fine, changed their minds after we explained the alternatives.
This tells us that at our phone outreach has the ability to engage voters and bring them into the national movement for nonpartisan primary reform. Our survey has the ability to open minds to alternatives to the partisan status quo.
Overview of the Phone Bank Operation
When compared to past Open Primaries’ phone operations, total polls and sign-up rates skyrocketed. Efforts ran from May 14- June 18, and we conducted 75 shifts during that time. Below is a breakdown of the results:
In Philadelphia we made over twice as many phone calls, reached almost 400 more people, and did about 100 more polls over a shorter period of time. Of those polled, 44% signed-up to receive email updates, and other 15% joined the movement as volunteers. This dramatic increase in positive responses illustrates Philadelphian’s discontent with the current partisan system. By inviting them to join our movement, Open Primaries gives them an outlet to express their frustration with the current political environment.
In the beginning of the poll, we asked a set of general questions about primaries to gage the voter’s understanding of the current system, then provided voter education on alternatives to partisan primaries, and asked how they felt about the reform options. We spoke to many locals who were angry about being locked out of the first round of voting. As you can see by Figures 3 and 4, most people we spoke to were aware of the closed system and more than two-thirds found the closed primary flawed.
In the subsequent portion of the poll, we explained how an open or nonpartisan system would work, and ask which system they would prefer. Figure 5 shows more than half the respondents support Nonpartisan Top Two Primaries. Anecdotally, we learned that many voters didn’t know there were other ways to conduct elections. These voters were motivated by the alternative of Nonpartisan Top Two Primaries to shake things up and join our reform movement.
Overall, Open Primaries was met with overwhelming support in Philadelphia. A notable 88% supported either Open or Nonpartisan Top Two Primaries (Figure 5). Furthermore, an impressive 90% believe a campaign to reform the closed primary system would be worthwhile (Figure 6). The closed partisan primary serves to maintain party power and perpetuate the stagnation seen in legislative bodies nationwide. Inviting the over one million unaffiliated voters statewide into the primary would create an opportunity for new ideas and conversations, which has the possibility to usurp the partisan gridlock that has stymied progress.
Orinda Mayor Steve Glazer beat Concord Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla in the Democratsonly race for an East Bay state Senate seat, but the real losers may be labor unions and Democratic leaders who don’t see that the political game in California has changed.
Glazer, a 57yearold campaign consultant and former aide to Gov. Jerry Brown, took the lead for the Seventh State Senate District seat when the first votebymail results were released minutes after the polls closed Tuesday and never looked back. By night’s end, he beat Bonilla by more than 10,000 votes, 54.6 percent to 45.4 percent. He won easily in both Contra Costa and Alameda counties.
This week, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge by the Arizona legislature, which was seeking to invalidate an Independent Redistricting Commission established by Arizonans through the initiative and referendum process.
The Arizona Legislature asserted that they, not a voter created independent commission, had the right to draw Congressional district lines. They based their arguments on a literal reading of the constitution. But in a 5-4 decision written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Supreme Court ruled that the term “Legislature” did not refer only to specific representative bodies but rather to the legislative process, which in Arizona and 23 other states includes citizen-initiated legislation.
It is an important ruling. The Court protected the right of the American people to use the initiative and referendum process to shape governmental institutions. The ruling also sheds light on the disconnect between Americans and our elected representatives; illustrating why Congress has an 80% disapproval rating.
Go behind the scenes and watch our phone outreach team in action. The phone outreach operation plays a role in the overall organizational strategy of Open Primaries. It is one of our main tools for voter education. We call both affiliated and unaffiliated voters from all 50 states. The team conducts opinion polls, the results of which we use to help measure voter satisfaction with the electoral process, inform us of voter support for an open primary campaign, and build our movement of supporters.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEJuly 1, 2015CONTACTKellie RyanCommunications Director(646) 205-0293
New York, NY – July 1, 2015 - Open Primaries, a national political reform organization, released today poll results showing Philadelphia voters’ overwhelming desire for an election system more focused on a candidate’s own positions, rather than political partisanship.
According to the polling conducted from May-June of 346 registered independent voters in metro Philadelphia, 73 percent of voters polled feel there are definitely flaws in Philadelphia’s closed primary system and an impressive 88 percent support changing the current system to either an open primary system or a Top Two, nonpartisan election system. Interestingly, 87 percent of the voters polled were already aware of Pennsylvania’s closed primary system. Complete results below.
The ruling issued by the Supreme Court on June 29th, rejecting a challenge to a Redistricting Commission implemented by the people of Arizona through the initiative and referendum process (“I&R”), is a positive example of our highest court exercising political leadership.
The challenge, brought by the State’s Legislature, was based on language in Article I, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which states, inter alia:
″[t]he Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing [sic] Senators.”