In an historic bipartisan vote, the Maine legislature passed a semi-open primary bill--LD 231--allowing independent voters---32% of all Maine voters-the right to pick a party ballot and vote in primary elections for the first time!
In a year where many states considered rolling back voter rights and Congressional reform efforts fell victim to the partisan playbook, Maine offered a stark contrast. Sizable numbers of Republicans joined with a majority of Democrats to pass the bill 27-7 in the Senate and 92-52 in the House. The legislation was championed by Senators Chloe Maxin (D) and Matthew Pouliot (R).
Ballot Measure 2 passed and Alaska joined California, Washington and Nebraska in adopting statewide nonpartisan open primaries where all voters vote!
A diverse group of Alaskans came together to create Alaskans for Better Elections- dedicated to putting Alaskans back in control of their elections and making them “more open, transparent, and fair.” Opening the primaries to all voters was one of the group’s key goals, along with implementing ranked choice voting and campaign finance disclosure. Alaska has the highest number of registered independent voters of any state in the country - well over 50% of all voters.
Alaskans for Better Elections won an important court victory against the Alaska State Attorney General and party insiders who wanted to stop them from gathering signatures for a 2020 ballot initiative.
St. Louis (2020)
STL Approves Prop D for Democracy passed in overwhelming numbers--getting 68% of the St. Louisan vote! We’re so excited for what this means for St. Louis voters and we're proud to be a part of this successful campaign.
St. Louis was one of only a few remaining major cities (New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Louisville, Indianapolis, Charlotte, and DC are the others) that conduct partisan municipal elections. Over 80% of cities conduct nonpartisan elections and let all voters vote for whomever they want in both the first and second rounds. Like many cities completely dominated by one party, the only election that counts in St. Louis is the Democratic primary; whomever wins the Democratic Primary is the de facto winner.
Measure 3 for top two open primaries came very close to passing--receiving one of the highest votes of any reform on the ballot anywhere in the country at 57% of the vote (it needed 60%).
One thing unites all Florida voters: the growing frustration with a political system that is broken, rigged, and unfair. Florida disenfranchises more independent voters than any other state in the country.
3.6 million independent voters - 27% of all registered Floridians - are currently barred from participating in the taxpayer funded primary elections. For many Florida voters, the primary election is the only election that matters, with a mere 16% of general election races in the state considered competitive.
Open primaries was the second most popular issue brought before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) at nine public hearings held across the state in 2017, with dozens of Floridians flocking to speak and thousands more signing an online petition in support. With recent polling finding 70% of Florida voters-Republicans, Democrats and independents-supporting open primaries, the state has reached a tipping point.
Let Colorado Vote, led by Colorado business leader Kent Thiry, gathered over 300,000 signatures to place two ballot measures on the 2016 ballot, both of which passed. Proposition 107 brought back the Colorado presidential primary and allowed independent voters to participate, and Proposition 108 made statewide (taxpayer-funded) primaries open to all voters.
In 2018, over 291,000 Independent voters voted in Colorado's first open primary and in 2020 the number of Coloradans who participated in the Presidential primaries jumped from 124,000 (in the 2016 CO caucus) to 1,800,000 people.