May 2019 Newsletter - Open Primaries
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May 2019 Newsletter

Posted by Russell Daniels on August 29, 2019 at 2:16 PM

It's been a busy couple of weeks for Open Primaries. Here's what's going on around the country:

Open primaries bill gets a hearing before the PA Senate and new coalition emerges: 

 


PA Senators held a hearing recently to discuss 13 bills related to how Pennsylvanians cast their ballot.  Throughout the testimony several Senators and speakers spoke out on behalf of opening PA's primaries to the nearly 800,000 Independent voters who can't vote in primaries they are currently paying for with their tax dollars. 

OP Senior VP Jeremy Gruber testified to how closed primaries impact the growing number of independent voters,including African Americans, millennials, and Latinos, and how their exclusion is having a "dramatic effect" on the political culture in PA that is “unsustainable.” 

The two former chairs of the Republican and Democratic Parties in PA (who had previously opposed open primaries) even testified in support

Open Primaries PA, a diverse and growing coalition of groups committed to open and free elections for PA’s 800,000 independents has launched! Check them out at: https://www.openprimariespa.org/ 


All Voters Vote: The Campaign for Open Primaries in Florida:

Healthcare provider and former candidate for the Florida House, Dr. Jeffrey Solomon has recently penned a lengthy endorsement of open primaries and the All Voters Vote campaign to bring top-two open primaries to Florida.  

He cites California and Nebraska's successful top two system as good examples of what a healthy political culture can look like. He concludes: 

"The All Voters Vote campaign is bringing Republicans, Democrats and independents together to give more choice and more options to all voters. Democracy only works when you have the full consent of the governed, and the current party-run system of primaries distorts the will of the people in ways that are harmful to voters and policymakers alike.  It’s time to fundamentally reject politics as usual and put “We the People” back in charge of our elections.The time to start is now."

 

Missouri voters escalate their battle against politicians trying to close the state's primaries:

As the Missouri legislative session grinds to a close, Missouri voters have ramped up their outreach to members of the House to ensure that HB 26, which would close the state’s primaries to independent voters, remains stalled. Thousands of Missourians have called and emailed the Statehouse in just the last month. Activists from across the state have penned letters to the editor in every major paper from the Daily Star Journalto the Joplin Globe.

 Their support is having a big impact. The House recently removed the bill from its calendar for further consideration.


The largest paper in Maine endorses open primaries:

The Portland Press Herald recently endorsed bill LD 11 which would open primaries to all Maine voters. For them:

"The current system of closed primaries is left over from an earlier time, when political parties were stronger organizations that were responsive to a politically diverse group of voters. Unenrolled voters are only allowed to vote in a Maine primary if they pretend to join a party for three months. It’s a sham many voters find distasteful and a bureaucratic hurdle that effectively shuts out 40 percent of the electorate."


New group in Wisconsin launches campaign for top 4 open primaries & ranked choice voting:

Democracy Found is working to bring legislation that would create top 4 open primaries with ranked choice voting in the general election.  The initiative is being championed by business leader and reform advocate, Katherine Gehl: ""We don't have a policy problem or a politician people problem. We have a political system problem." In 2017, Gehl and Michael Porter co-authored the report Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America for the Harvard Business School.

 

Media Roundup

  • OP Senior VP, Jeremy Gruber was interviewed and asked how open primaries can change the culture of politics in Open Primary Movement Seeks to Empower Voters to Break Gridlock-Article
  • OP President, John Opdycke was interviewed on Fox News to talk about how former Vice President Biden is going to have to address independent voters who are tired of both parties putting their parties before the American people-Video
  • National Associate of Nonpartisan Reformers endorses initiatives in Maine for open primaries and ranked choice voting-article
  • Director of Florida Fair & Open Primaries, Steve Hough asks Will This Critical Battleground State Open Its Presidential Primaries in 2020? Article

Even though the voters of FL passed a resolution to give back full voting rights to 1.4 million Floridians, the Florida House is still actively working to prevent voters from voting-Article


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