Open Primaries Hotlist Volume 6 - Open Primaries
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Posted by jesse shayne on September 01, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Open Primaries

Hotlist, Volume 6 

Legal Victory

Two weeks ago, a federal appeals court rejected the Hawaii Democratic Party’s efforts to overturn a previous ruling in defense of the State’s open primary system. The court upheld the lower court’s decision by asserting that the HDP could not provide adequate evidence that the open system infringed upon its First Amendment right to freedom of association.

This is an important legal victory because the court shifted the burden of proof away from the voters and onto the political parties. They must be able to prove, state-by-state, that open primaries violate their freedom of association.


The Let Colorado Vote campaign officially secured a place on the general election ballot for two primary reform measures. The voters of Colorado will have the opportunity to bring back the presidential primary in place of the current caucus system (Initiative 140), and to open up state and federal primaries to all voters (Initiative 98).

Indeed, more Coloradans signed in support of Let Colorado Vote’s ballot initiatives than the total number of participants in the 2016 presidential caucus in Colorado -- a telling sign for a state where unaffiliated voters outnumber Republicans and Democrats, yet still can’t participate in the presidential nominating affair.

And just today, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper endorsed both ballot measures -- an important showing of support from an influential political leader.

South Dakota

The Vote Yes on V campaign in South Dakota was mentioned in the New York Times Sunday Review last weekend, in an article entitled “Can the States Save Democracy?” Vote Yes on V -- which would enact public, nonpartisan primaries -- the Nebraska model -- was given the nod as one of the truly important grassroots reform efforts underway this electoral cycle. (Read more about the Nebraska model in our report, “The Myth of the Red State”)

The Vote Yes on V campaign has built a diverse leadership committee of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, and has been generating strong local and national press, including Governing Magazine, the Wall Street JournalArgus Leader, and Rapid City Journal.

Whether you live in Palm Beach, Florida or Eugene, Oregon, the South Dakota Vote Yes on V campaign is equally important. We need to do everything we can to support this courageous group of South Dakotans who want to empower the voters and shake up the system. Please get involved by making a donation -- which will matched 2-to-1 -- and talking to anyone you know in South Dakota about the effort.

In the News

Open Primaries Board Member Dr. Jessie Fields spoke about the ways that closed primaries perpetuate and heighten political polarization, and the rationale behind the open primaries movement, on Peace Talks Radio -- an NPR show based in New Mexico.

Open Primaries Senior Vice President Jeremy Gruber appeared on Independent Voter’s new podcast, “Beyond Partisan Politics,” to discuss his research on the taxpayer cost of closed primaries.

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