Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:16 PM
The Hotlist rounds up the latest news and developments from the movement to open primary elections and let all voters vote. Here are two states to watch this month as primary season heats up.
“I think giving independent voters that opportunity could help really reform the electoral process, get more people involved and hopefully get a more diverse set of opinions in the primary process, as opposed to only a select few choosing who gets to go on.” House Majority Leader Dave Reed
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.
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.
Jennifer Bullock of Independent Pennsylvanians is mobilizing supporters to write letters to the editor in support of Scarnati and Reed’s proposed legislation. If you would like to participate in the effort, please contact Jen Bullock directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“This is not a reform. It is terrible.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “I hate the top-two.” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
Top Two Open Primaries are Working and the Politicians Hate it
Judging by the negative news coverage of the recent top two open primary elections in California, you would have thought the sky was falling. In many statewide and Congressional races, dozens of candidates competed for a spot on the November ballot - with no candidate or party guaranteed a spot. Competition and unpredictability should be the norm in a democracy, but both political parties prefer to know in advance what is going to happen – hence the hysteria.
Why the Establishment Hates California’s Top Two Open Primary System
Politicians from Nancy Pelosi to Kevin McCarthy were up in arms. It’s not that complicated why both Democratic and Republican leaders are offended by the top two system. Both parties were forced to compete and reach out broadly to voters in every district in California or risk being locked out of the general election. They call that “chaos.” The voters call it “stop taking my vote for granted.”
What Actually Happened
The top two system is working. The most popular candidates advanced. Multiple polls of voters in California reveal that a supermajority of voters support top two. Editorials from the San Diego Tribune and the San Francisco Chronicle pushed back against the establishment hysteria and reminded readers how the system, which puts the voters before the parties, is succeeding at shaking up the status quo. Recent commentary from Congressman Jason Altmire is demonstrating that California’s top two open primary is only growing more influential in reforming the state’s political culture and helping drive the national conversation for political reform.