Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 16 - Open Primaries
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Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 16

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

Activists Deliver Petition for Open Primaries in Florida

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.

We applaud Steve’s dedication and tireless work on this campaign, and thank every member of the Florida coalition for their contributions. Here’s a picture of Steve testifying:

Colorado GOP Bends to the Will of Voters, Opts into Open Primary

In 2016 voters in Colorado won a major victory by passing two ballot initiatives that created an open state and presidential primary. In order to pass constitutional muster, the initiatives allow a political party to “opt out” of the open primary and hold a private caucus or convention (at their own expense) instead.

After much speculation that the Colorado Republican Party might opt out of holding a primary rather than allow unaffiliated voters to participate, the GOP held a public forum to debate and vote on the matter. In the end, it wasn’t even close, as 67 percent of the Party leadership opted to bend to the will of voters and use the state funded open primary.

The message from voters is clear: Open primaries are the law of the land in Colorado. The parties, faced with the possibility of either accepting the new reality or committing political suicide, have chosen to follow the voters’ lead. Now all Colorado voters can vote in a primary election, no matter what party they choose to affiliate (or not affiliate) with.

South Dakota Open Primaries Gathers Signatures to get on Ballot

After coming within a few percentage points of passing a (top-two) open primary on the ballot last year, the South Dakota Open Primaries team is back at it again, gathering signatures to begin the process of qualifying for the 2018 ballot.

The team has 1 month left to gather 40,000 signatures. Right now, they’re about halfway there -- still a long ways to go.

South Dakota Open Primaries is trying to capitalize on the strong showing last year, when 45% of voters supported a move to an open primary. The one thing that held last year’s effort back was that many voters said they were uncomfortable taking party labels off the ballot. This year’s proposal will just focus on an open primary, without removing party labels, and is generating a broader base of support.

Hot Topics

A new report by Harvard Business School, entitled “Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America,” finds that “the current partisan primary system is perhaps the single most powerful obstacle to achieving outcomes for the common good.” Furthermore, it opines that “our political system has become the major barrier to solving nearly every important challenge our nation needs to address.” You can read the full report here and watch a short video about it below. Open Primaries intern Stephanie Geier also wrote about the report in her latest blog post.

After a busy legislative session earlier this year, the crew at New Mexico Open Primaries has been anything but idle. Last month, they co-hosted a panel on election reform, which featured prominent academics and elected officials, as well as NMOP Founder Bob Perls. While there were some differences of opinion on what tactics should be used to fix New Mexico’s political system, the panelists all agreed that open primaries are essential.

Coast to Coast Open Primaries Roundup

CALIFORNIA: Open Primaries President John Opdycke and former State Controller Steve Westly explore how open primaries have created the environment for voter empowerment and effective legislating in CA -- READ

FLORIDA: Open Primaries activist Becky Trudeau is fed up with our partisan election system and is working to open the primaries in her home state -- READ

NEW MEXICO: New Mexico Open Primaries Board Member Abraham Sanchez declares that it’s time the voters stop paying for primary elections they can’t vote in -- READ

NEW YORK: Open Primaries intern Stephanie Geier covers the undemocratic and uncompetitive nature of New York’s primary election -- READ

OKLAHOMA: The state’s Libertarian Party will soon decide whether to hold an open or closed primary -- READ

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