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Open Primaries Newsletter (January 2019)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:31 PM

  • This week Open Primaries and Florida Fair and Open Primaries released a survey of Florida voters and its findings might be shocking to the politicians, parties and pundits that keep declaring that our country is dissolving into tribalism. The survey revealed broad support-from Democrats, Republicans and independents- for inclusive and cross partisan political leadership and reform of our “rigged” election system.

Key Findings:

  • 93% of voters want their elected officials to put the interests of voters ahead of the interests of their own political party.  
  • 91% of voters want their elected leaders to bring opposing interests together to create good policies and 83% of them want their elected officials to champion reforms that give more power to the voters.  
  • 70% of voters-including supermajorities of Republican, Democrat and independent voters-want the Republican and Democratic parties to open their presidential primaries to independent voters and
  • 64% support a move to “top two” primaries for state and federal office.  
  • For more information about the survey, see: https://www.openprimaries.org/fl_poll_2019

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Open Primaries Newsletter (July 2018)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:20 PM

FFAOP (Florida Fair and Open Primaries) recently announced that they were launching two ballot petitions to open the primaries in Florida. Their goal is to get these two proposed amendments, one creating the open primary and the other prohibiting public resources being used for primary elections, on the 2020 ballot so the voters of Florida can weigh in.

3.4 million independent Florida voters (27% of all registered voters in the state) are currently barred from voting in primary elections that they pay for with their tax dollars.  

WHERE THEY GO FROM HERE: FFAOP needs to gather 766,220 signatures by February of 2020 to get on the ballot. The group already has volunteers in 14 different counties working to get the signatures.

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Open Primaries Newsletter (June 2018)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:16 PM

Legislative Leadership in Pennsylvania Embraces Open Primaries

For 10 years, independent voter leaders and reform activists have been pushing for primary reform in Pennsylvania. Finally, legislative leaders are listening and agree that the time has come to #LetAllVotersVote.

What Happened?

State Senate President Pro-Tempore Joe Scarnati (R) just announced that he would introduce legislation to open the primaries. State House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R) has also expressed support for changes to the way Pennsylvania conducts its primaries. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa (D) and other Democratic lawmakers have expressed support for this change.

Where We Go From Here

This is good news and could represent a real opportunity. We are coordinating with the redistricting reform movement in Pennsylvania, who are themselves facing a critical July 6th deadline for legislative approval to move forward with gerrymandering reform. As Open Primaries President John Opdycke, and Committee of 70 President David Thornburgh assert in their recent editorial for the Philadelphia Inquirer, both reforms are critical to establishing equal voting rights in Pennsylvania.  

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Open Primaries Newsletter (May 2018)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:11 PM

Democracy Innovation is California’s Secret Weapon

Rep. Ro Khanna and former California State Controller Steve Westly recently authored an op-ed on how California’s top two, open primary has transformed California politics.  

California government used to look like Washington, D.C.: 24/7 gridlock and divisive partisanship. Lawmakers brave enough to work across party lines to find solutions were stripped of committee positions by party leadership. Only a handful of incumbents were defeated during the entire decade of 2000-2010.”  Today, We have real-world tested solutions to partisanship and gridlock, and much to add to the national conversation about fixing broken politics.”  Khanna and Westly point out that ever since Californians made serious moves to make the process more democratic in 2010 (i.e. top-two open primaries, nonpartisan redistricting) “California has gone from having the least competitive elections in the country to some of the most competitive according to the Lucy Burns Institute.”

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Open Primaries Newsletter (March 2018)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:03 PM

Open Primaries collaborated with Spectrum News recently to host a live television town hall in Orlando to discuss primary reform.

Click here to watch the highlights or the full television town hall.

Open primaries has become a hot issue in Florida as people have been showing up by the dozen at hearings across the state to testify before the state’s Constitution Revision Commission and urge them to put open primaries on the 2018 ballot.  The panel of experts included: Steve Hough (President of Florida Fair and Open Primaries), Professor Charles H. Rose (Stetson University College of Law), Glenn Burhans Jr. (Attorney and Florida election law expert) and Supervisors of Elections from Polk and Seminole Counties.  

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 18

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 3:59 PM

A dramatic and unexpected victory for a Constitution Revision Commission open primaries proposal was swifty reversed by a second committee in what amounted to a backroom vote.

On January 26th, the Elections and Ethics Committee, which had been studying open primaries proposal 62 for months, voted to advance it in a 6 to 3 vote. The proposal, sponsored by Commissioner Bill Schifino, would have moved Florida from a closed primary system to an open “top two” primary system and fully enfranchised 3.4 million independent voters who are currently barred from voting in the state’s taxpayer funded primary elections. Non-partisan organizations such as the League of Women Voters joined the chorus of support before the Ethics and Elections Committee. The vote followed weeks of expert testimony, debate, and public comment.

The following Thursday, the General Provisions Committee shot down the proposal with less than an hour of discussion. Commissioner Schifino, Director of Fair and Open Primaries Steve Hough, OP Senior Vice President Jeremy Gruber, and All Voters Vote leader Glenn Burhans testified. They answered several questions from the committee, but the committee was unanimous in their decision to stop the progress of the proposal.

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 17

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 3:53 PM

Recently, the Florida Constitution Revision Commission asked open primaries activists to present their case in support of Commissioner William Schifino’s open primary proposal. Steve Hough, Director of Florida Fair and Open Primaries and Jeremy Gruber, SVP of Open Primaries travelled to Tallahassee to share why opening up Florida’s closed primaries would be good for the voters and the state.

The Commission is currently debating the measure, which would allow Florida’s 3.4 million independent voters to pick a party ballot in the primary election. If the majority of the Commission supports it, the proposal will head to the 2018 ballot.

“In a recent poll 70% of Floridians supported open primaries - including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents. 27% of Florida voters are independents that cannot vote in taxpayer funded primary elections. Florida is one of only nine states with completely closed primaries. The time has come for change and we ask that you put Commissioner Schifino’s open primary measure on the ballot in 2018 and let the voters decide.”

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 16

Posted by jesse shayne on October 08, 2017 at 10:30 AM

There was a critical development in the campaign for open primaries in Florida last week.

After hearing testimony from dozens of open primaries activists last spring, the Constitution Revision Commission decided to hold a hearing focused on the state’s primary system. And on Wednesday afternoon, Steve Hough, director of Florida Fair and Open Primaries, drove to the hearing, in Tallahassee, to testify and deliver copies of a 6,000-signature petition -- demanding an open primaries measure on the 2018 ballot -- to the Commission.

The Commission, which is a once-every-20-years process tasked with offering proposals for state constitutional amendments, is now contemplating what to put on the 2018 ballot. In the interim, Steve and the coalition in Florida plan to keep organizing the petition -- to add the voices of thousands more Floridians to the effort -- before the Commission makes its final decisions.

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 15

Posted by jesse shayne on September 05, 2017 at 11:56 AM

This past spring, Open Primaries partnered with local organizations Florida Fair and Open Primaries and Progress for All to urge the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) to put an open primaries measure on the ballot in 2018. The Commission held public hearings around the state; 77 primary reform advocates testifiedTV stationsradio programs, and newspapers covered the story.

Now that hearings are over, local activists are encouraging the CRC to place an open primaries measure on the 2018 ballot and let the voters decide. The issue has widespread support from Florida voters, including super majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents. The challenge is convincing the CRC to act!

Every Open Primaries supporter, from Maine to Alaska, can help our friends and partners in Florida. Watch this video about the Florida effort. Email this petition to your friends and family in Florida -- urge them to sign it and share it on social media.

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 14

Posted by jesse shayne on June 18, 2017 at 11:52 AM

You know you’ve made it when you become the subject of a Twitter war.

Over the weekend, DNC establishment figures took to the Twittersphere to duke it out with progressive activists over the Party’s use of closed primaries. The three-day debate was provoked by Young Turks reporter Nomiki Konst, after she tweeted a series of statements in support of open primaries. You can see part of the exchange here.

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