Poll: 74% of Floridians think independents should vote in party primaries - Open Primaries
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Posted by jesse shayne on March 29, 2017 at 12:25 PM

Poll: 74% of Floridians think independents should vote in party primaries

This article was written by Adam C. Smith for the Tampa Bay Times

A newly released robo poll by funded by several election reform groups found that nearly three in four Floridians, 74 percent, think independent voters should be allowed to vote in the primary elections. Voters not affiliated with a political party account for about 27 percent of the Florida electorate, but are currently barred from participating in taxpayer funded primary elections.

“If the Constitution Revision Commission is listening to Florida voters, they will put a referendum on the 2018 ballot for open primaries. The big question is will they listen. There is a growing sense among voters in Florida and across the country that no one is really listening,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries.

Progress For All, Florida Fair and Open Primaries, and Open Primaries funded the survey by the Democratic-leaning firm, Public Policy Polling. Other findings:

**70 percent of Florida voters, and 74 percent of Hispanics, favor a top-two open primary where all candidates appear on the same ballot, regardless of party affiliation, and all voters are able to vote for any candidate, with the top two candidates moving on to the general election.

**73 percent say primaries should be open to all voters.

**72 percent support a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences for nonviolent criminal offenses.

"Millions of Floridians are being locked out of the primary process, despite the fact that many elections are being decided in the primary. To add insult to injury, both political parties have hijacked the limited legal rights independents already have- to vote in primaries where candidates are from one party and will be unopposed in the general election-by inserting bogus write-in candidates that effectively negate the clear intent of our law. It is my firm belief that adopting a Top Two Open Primary will not only provide all citizens an equal opportunity to participate, it will force our representatives to be more accountable to all," said Steve Hough, Florida Fair and Open Primaries.

Democratic former congressional candidate Tim Canova, chairman of Progess for All, said opening Florida's primaries is in the interest of both major parties: "Since both Democrats and Republicans often need independent voters to win at the general election stage, they should stop making it so difficult for such voters to join the electoral process. They should welcome open primaries, which will allow each party to address the issues that matter to all the voters."

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