Newsletter - Open Primaries
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Open Primaries Newsletter (March 2019 pt. 2)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:40 PM

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

The Maine legislature will hold a public hearing on opening the state’s primary elections: Voters in Maine can sign up and testify in support of LD 211 "An Act to Open Maine's Primaries and Permit Unenrolled Voters To Cast Ballots in Primary Elections.” Senator Justin Chenette, a co-sponsor of the legislation recently went on record saying:

"As a Democrat, I believe in expanding voting rights and access. Increasing voter participation and citizen engagement in the political process is a core democratic value. It’s in our party platform and as a party, we oftentimes talk about respecting the will of the voters and protecting our democratic institutions. We either want participation or we don’t. We either want to expand voting rights or we don’t. Picking and choosing makes us look indecisive and goes against our core beliefs. It’s because I’m a Democrat that I support opening up our primary, not in spite of. If you support automatic voter registration, early voting, ranked choice voting and other electoral reforms to improve our political system to make it easier not harder to vote, then you should consider supporting open primaries as well."

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Open Primaries (March 2019)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:37 PM

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

Landmark Research Shows Top 2 is Working in CA:  

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute has just released a ground-breaking series of white papers by Charles Munger Jr. that take a comprehensive, data-driven look at the effects of California’s adoption of top two open primaries on its politics.

Munger demonstrates that California’s top two open primary is delivering productive reforms on a wide range of electoral and political fronts including creating greater competition, greater public interest, increased access for independent voters (25.5% of registered voters), and greater accountability between voters and their elected representatives.

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Open Primaries Newsletter (February 2019 pt. 2)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:35 PM

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

1. Movement in Maine.  Maine has been at the forefront of political innovation and voter empowerment for decades.  From its innovative ballot design enacted in the 1930s, to its model public matching funds program, to passing ranked choice voting in 2016 (and defending it from legislators in 2018), Mainers have always insisted their system serve the voters.  But there is a huge missing piece. When it comes to primary elections, Maine shuts out independents, unlike their neighbors in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

This could soon change.  An effort is underway to pass legislation putting independents on equal footing with party voters. Open Primaries Maine a coalition of independent, Democrat and Republican voters, legislators, civic, business and community leaders dedicated to a simple proposition - #LetAllVotersVote - is pushing hard to pass legislation to let independents vote once and for all.  

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Open Primaries Newsletter (February 2019)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:33 PM

Maryland Governor advocates for open primaries: Governor Larry Hogan (R-MD) appeared on C-SPAN and was asked "if he could change something about the system in his state" what would it be? His response? Open the primaries to the 800K voters in Maryland who are currently locked out taxpayer-funded primaries. Watch the full video below:

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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:

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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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