Newsletter - Open Primaries
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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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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 13

Posted by jesse shayne on May 21, 2017 at 10:34 AM

In 2016, the Republican Party of Montana and the Democratic Party of Hawaii filed legal challenges to the open primary laws in their respective states. The ninth Circuit Court ruled that neither party had provided evidence to show their rights had been abridged, and in both states the parties challenged the ruling.

After much anticipation, the Supreme Court announced that it would not hear legal challenges to Montana and Hawaii’s open primary systems. This is an important win for the open primaries movement. Had the Ninth Circuit’s decision been overturned, the Republican and Democratic Parties would have been able to use this decision as a weapon to close the primaries in in other states that conduct open elections.

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 12

Posted by jesse shayne on April 16, 2017 at 2:16 PM

Post 2016, the open primaries movement is expanding -- cultivating new coalitions and campaigns, attracting new leaders, developing new partnerships, and permeating mainstream media -- as more Americans become attuned to the impact of our rigged electoral process. Here are a few developments from March and April.

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 11

Posted by jesse shayne on February 10, 2017 at 2:17 PM

Virginia’s House of Delegates had a 100% incumbency return rate in 2015. But political insiders are never satisfied, which is why State Senators Mark Obenshain and John Cosgrove introduced legislation to further reduce electoral competition by closing Virginia’s primary and forcing Virginia voters to join a political party to vote.

But Virginians were not having it. After 1500 Open Primaries supporters throughout the state called and sent letters to their state representatives, the State Senate overwhelmingly voted down the closed primaries bill.

Steve Richardson of the Virginia Independent Voters Association, a spokesperson for the successful grassroots campaign, said “All registered voters should be free to choose among candidates for public office. Political party insiders should not be making those choices for us. We were dead set against these bills and we made our voices heard.”

Well done Virginia!

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 10

Posted by jesse shayne on December 23, 2016 at 2:56 PM

Voter Sues New York to Open Primaries:

Two weeks ago, Open Primaries Spokesperson Mark Moody defended the voting rights of 3.2 million New Yorkers -- who are locked out of the primaries -- before the New York State Supreme Court. The room was overflowing with over five dozen OP and independent voting activists -- the largest audience Judge Arthur Engoron had ever seen in his court.

Mark delivered a passionate argument for why New York’s closed primary system and change of party affiliation deadline -- the earliest in the country -- are unconstitutional. 

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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 9

Posted by jesse shayne on October 30, 2016 at 4:22 PM

Vote Yes on V is nearing the home stretch and they need your help. These last few days are the most crucial time for outreach, as voters finally sit down to decide which local candidates and ballot measures they should support. The campaign just received an endorsement from the Rapid City Journal and is premiering two new TV advertisements aimed at educating South Dakota voters on the benefits of public, nonpartisan primaries.

The whole country is joining in their fight because if Amendment V passes, it will send a strong message to Washington and politicians all across the country that Americans are reclaiming their democracy.

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