Posted on May 11, 2016 at 4:13 PM
Senior Vice President
Over 2.5 Million New Jersey Voters Barred from Next Week’s Election
New Jersey’s Primary System Prevents Meaningful Reform
New York – May 11, 2016 – Next week’s primary in New Jersey will be hotly contested; with more delegates at stake than any other state left to vote except California. Yet 2,652,061 independent New Jersey voters, including almost half of all millennial voters, will be barred from casting a ballot in next week’s primary election despite paying for the election with their tax dollars – a burden that cost New Jersey taxpayers millions each primary season.
Voter suppression takes many forms: long lines, incompetent administration, arbitrary registration deadlines, and archaic voter identification requirements. But these barriers, while serious, pale in comparison to the impact that closed, partisan primaries will have on the ability of over 2.5 million people in New Jersey to cast a ballot and have a real choice in voting for a candidate they support.
Equally egregious, Republican voters and Democratic voters will be forced to choose a candidate from one party and not allowed the choice to vote for a candidate of a different party in this most decisive of New Jersey primary elections. New Jersey shouldn’t have different rules for different voters. We must protect the right to vote for all Americans and bring our politics into the 21st century.
Across the country, 26.3 million independent voters as well as millions of registered Democrats and Republicans were prevented from voting for the candidate of their choice during this election season. Recent polling shows that the vast majority of Americans- 70% - support open primaries.
For voters wanting to change the system, Open Primaries has launched a vehicle to communicate this to the parties through our petition calling on both Democratic and Republican convention rules committees to amend party rules and allow all voters to participate in the Presidential Primaries in 2020 whether they are registered to vote in a party or not.
“Everyone is talking about how rigged the rules of the presidential game are. The Parties could pass rules allowing all voters to participate in the presidential primaries in 2020 whether they are registered to vote in a party or not. If the parties want to continue to have the tax-payers fund their primaries, then we should have a say in how they are run,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries. “An open system is better for our country, our people, and even our politicians, and we hope the parties do the right thing; follow the lead of the American people, and conduct open contests in all 50 states in 2020.”
For New Jersey voters fed up with the partisan paralyses of our government, election reform offers real hope for the future. The time has come to level the playing field and enact a fair and open primary system. Open Primaries is dedicated to ensuring that every eligible citizen can go to the polls, vote their choice and cast a ballot that counts.
Open Primaries is a national, nonprofit 501(c)(4) organization working to enact open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters, train and support spokespeople, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. Open Primaries is a movement of diverse Americans who believe in a simple, yet radical idea: no American should be required to join a political party to exercise their right to vote.