Posted on June 22, 2016 at 6:05 PM
Senior Vice President
Open Primaries Applauds National Action Network’s General Counsel for Championing Primary Reform
Michael Hardy Links Open Primaries to History of American Civil Rights Movement
New York – June 22, 2016 – This week Michael Hardy, general counsel and vice president of the National Action Network, announced his strong support for electoral reforms within the Democratic Party, particularly open primaries. The National Action Network is one of the country’s preeminent social justice organizations.
In his statement, Hardy links the movement to open the primaries to the long tradition of voting rights that peaked in the American civil rights movement and urges the Democratic Party to embrace primary reform and put full participation by the voters back at the top of the party’s platform:
“The modern Democratic Party has led the way in the fight for fair and equal access to the vote for all Americans and we must continue doing so. More is at stake in this election than who wins. The legitimacy of our government depends on acceptance by the people that the electoral system is fair, open and democratic. We will never break the partisan gridlock in Congress, until and unless every voter has a meaningful vote in the presidential election process.”
-Michael Hardy, General Counsel and Vice President of the National Action Network.
“Open Primaries commends Mr. Hardy for his willingness to push the Democratic Party establishment to support open primaries. They would be wise to listen. The 2016 primary process had millions of Americans scratching their heads and saying “why is the process run this way?” 26 million independents were barred from voting at all, and millions of Democrats and Republicans were subjected to arcane rules, regulations, and early registration deadlines. A recent AP/NORC poll showed that 70% of all Americans favor an open primary system that allows everyone to participate.
Mr. Hardy is raising critical issues about the intersection of primary reform and voting rights. The history of our democracy is the history of the fight for full citizenship for all Americans, and full citizenship means the right to vote and the right to meaningful participation in every phase of the electoral process. Open Primaries joins with Mr. Hardy in his focus on the critical steps needed to take us closer to that goal. As he so forcefully declares, the Voting Rights Act and, in, particular the pre-clearance mechanism must be restored and made applicable to more than a handful of Southern States. Formal party affiliation must no longer be a pre-condition to participation in state funded and administered primary elections.
Open Primaries is leading a national campaign to urge both parties to embrace open primaries at their conventions, and we are supporting local coalitions of Democrats, Republicans and independents that are challenging closed primaries at the state level. The primaries are funded by the taxpayers and administered by government agencies, and every American should be able to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice, whether they are registered in a party or not.
Our immediate goal is to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures on a petition that we will deliver to the conventions. I hope everyone who believes the current system is outdated and unfair will sign and circulate it among their friends and family."
-John Opdycke, President, Open Primaries