Posted on March 28, 2017 at 3:25 PM
Senior Vice President
Florida Voters Frustrated with Partisanship and Seek Solution to “Rigged System,” Reveals Survey
Miami, FL – March 28, 2017 – Today Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, Progress for All, a grassroots political and community action group, and Florida Fair and Open Primaries, a grassroots organization dedicated to enacting open primaries in Florida, released the results of a statewide survey of Florida voters that finds overwhelming discontent with the state’s political environment. It identifies broad support for reforming the state’s primary elections.
92% of Florida voters want their elected officials to put the interests of Florida voters ahead of the interests of their own political party. 93% of Florida voters want their elected leaders to bring opposing interests together to create good policies for the state and 87% of voters support electoral changes that expand democracy in Florida. 74% of Floridians want independent voters—27% of the Florida electorate—included in primary elections and 73% of Floridians-including supermajorities of Republican, Democrat and independent voters-want the Constitution Revision Commission, which begins public hearings tomorrow, to put an open primaries initiative before the voters.
Additional findings include:
- 70% of Florida voters, and a full 74% of Florida’s Latino community, 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% of voters believe taxpayer funded primaries should be open to all voters. (The parties have asserted that as private associations, they should determine who can and cannot participate in primary elections. However, primary elections are paid for by Florida taxpayers and administered by state and local election agencies.)
- 72% of Florida voters support a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to individuals who have completed their sentences for nonviolent criminal offenses.
The survey comes in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Primaries, which drew claims of a “rigged” process and saw 26 million independent voters across the country, including 3.5 million Floridians, locked out of the first round of elections. Florida voters paid over $13 million dollars in 2016 alone for closed, partisan primaries according to a recent analyses.
“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.”
-John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries
“Open primaries are good for democracy because they encourage full citizen participation in our elections. Both major political parties should support this reform. 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."
- Tim Canova, Chair of Progress for All
"Millions of Floridians are bring 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."
–Steve Hough, Florida Fair and Open Primaries
Open Primaries, Progress for All and Florida Fair and Open Primaries surveyed 735 registered Florida voters-Republicans, Democrats and independents- from March 12-14. The survey was conducted by Public Policy Polling. The full survey can be found on the Open Primaries website at: http://www.openprimaries.org/florida_poll
Available for Interview
John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries (based in New York City)
Tim Canova, Chair of Progress for All (based in Hollywood, FL.)
Steve Hough, Florida Fair and Open Primaries (based in Southport, FL.)
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.
Progress for All is a small-donor based grassroots political and community action group supporting progressive candidates and causes at the national, state, and local levels. More information about Progress for All and its work, can be found at http://progressforall.org/
Florida Fair and Open Primaries (FFAOP) is a grass roots non-partisan, volunteer organization that supports adding a constitutional amendment to the ballot to change Florida primary elections from a closed system to a top two open primary system. More information about FFAOP and its work, can be found at http://www.floridafairandopenprimaries.org/