Open Primaries Newsletter (March 2019 pt. 2) - Open Primaries
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Open Primaries Newsletter (March 2019 pt. 2)

Posted by Russell Daniels on April 01, 2019 at 4:40 PM

It's been a busy week for Open Primaries.  Here's what's going on around the country:

The Maine legislature will hold a public hearing on opening the state’s primary elections: Voters in Maine can sign up and testify in support of LD 211 "An Act to Open Maine's Primaries and Permit Unenrolled Voters To Cast Ballots in Primary Elections.” Senator Justin Chenette, a co-sponsor of the legislation recently went on record saying:

"As a Democrat, I believe in expanding voting rights and access. Increasing voter participation and citizen engagement in the political process is a core democratic value. It’s in our party platform and as a party, we oftentimes talk about respecting the will of the voters and protecting our democratic institutions. We either want participation or we don’t. We either want to expand voting rights or we don’t. Picking and choosing makes us look indecisive and goes against our core beliefs. It’s because I’m a Democrat that I support opening up our primary, not in spite of. If you support automatic voter registration, early voting, ranked choice voting and other electoral reforms to improve our political system to make it easier not harder to vote, then you should consider supporting open primaries as well."                            

Nearly 40% of Maine voters cannot participate in taxpayer-funded primaries that determine 70% of the state legislative races. The hearing will be held on Wednesday April 3rd at 9am at the State House.

If you'd like to give to the Maine efforts you can donate HERE and if you're in Maine and want to testify signup HERE.

Bill to close the primaries is defeated in Tennessee: A bill requiring Tennessee voters to declare their party affiliation in order to vote in a primary election-effectively closing the state’s open primaries- was overwhelmingly defeated 14-2 by a bipartisan group of state legislators. The Tennessee Republican Party had made closing the state’s primaries a focus of its 2019 legislative agenda. In rejecting the legislation, Rep. Jeremy Faison (R) said the measure would make Tennessee politics more partisan and limit people’s ability to run for office outside of being affiliated with the two major political parties. “This is a dangerous place for us to go,” he remarked.  Rep. London Lamar (D), expressed concern that closing the primaries would depress voter turnout. She added:

“The beautiful thing about being an American and a Tennessean is that we have the right to exercise our right to vote for anybody we want to vote for.”

Watch highlights of the debate in the Tennessee Legislature:


State court, politicians deny voters the open primaries reform they demand in New Mexico: Open Primaries Senior Vice President, Jeremy Gruber has penned  an op-ed highlighting the growing gap between the voters of New Mexico-82% of whom support open primaries- and the power the state court and politicians are willing to give up. Every year the number of independent and unaffiliated voters-now over 300K voters (25% of the electorate)- continues to grow and they remain locked out of taxpayer-funded primaries. Gruber says:

"In a small population state like New Mexico, with notoriously weak ethics laws and a long history of corruption among high-ranking officials, the disenfranchisement of that many voters has created a strong demand for reform from every corner of the state. 82% of New Mexicans — Republicans, Democrats and independent — support a move to open primaries." You can read the full article HERE

The Independent Voter Project launches a New Face and Foundation: Our friends, and frequent collaborators, over at the Independent Voter Project have a new platform with a host of great resources  Learn more about their new initiatives, such as working to open the Presidential Primaries, by visiting their website.

Media Roundup

  • Open Primaries has been named one of the 10 nonpartisan organizations to watch for in 2020! Article
  • Neal Simon on the real motives behind the Democratic Party’s HR1 “For the People Act.” Article
  • Matthew Douglas on why “Democracy is Good for Business.”
  • Attorney Harry Kresky on the legal roadblocks that have been put up in New Mexico to block open primaries: Article

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