Posted on June 05, 2015 at 3:36 PM
Congressman John Delaney Reintroduces the Open Our Democracy Act; Open Primaries Movement Growing NationallyFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Benefits of Open Our Democracy Act:
- Allows all voters to cast a ballot in the primary for the candidate of their choice
- Provides for a vote on a non-partisan plan to reform the redistricting process through the creation of independent redistricting commissions
- Increases voter participation by treating Election Day as a federal holiday
New York, NY – June 05, 2015 – Open Primaries, a national political reform organization, announced today its partnership with Congressman John Delaney (MD-6) in reintroducing the Open Our Democracy Act, an election reform legislation allowing Congress to accurately reflect the interests of the American people. The bill targets three elements that are feeding polarization and gridlock in Congress: closed primary elections, gerrymandered Congressional districts, and low voter turnout.
- Open Primaries: The Open Our Democracy Act calls for the use of nonpartisan “Top-Two” elections for all House and Senate seats. Under this system, all candidates, regardless of party preference, appear on a single primary ballot and each voter, including independents, may vote for any candidate during the primary. The top two candidates then proceed to the general election.
- Redistricting Reform: The Open Our Democracy Act requires the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study of redistricting processes, and their impact on the representation of minority voters and local communities. GAO would also be required to report to Congress with legislative recommendations for the enactment of federal standards requiring the creation of state independent redistricting commissions.
- Time Off on Election Day: General Election Day would be treated as a federal holiday, increasing voter participation by providing millions of workers with the flexibility they need to get to the polls and cast their votes.
“Open Primaries is excited to partner with Congressman Delaney to build public support for the Open our Democracy Act,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries. “Congressman Delaney sees from the inside just how detrimental partisan politics is to effective legislating. Open Primaries is connected to the growing grassroots movement to change the system to let all voters vote in the primaries so the people, not the parties, have the power. I’m looking forward to working with Congressman Delaney and open primaries leaders across the country to build support for this important legislation.”
“The Congress that works best for America is the Congress that best reflects America,” said Congressman Delaney. “Warped districts dominated by one party and unnecessary roadblocks to voting for working families have meant that the voice of the people has not been fully heard. The Open Our Democracy Act puts us on a path towards national redistricting reform, allows all registered voters, including independents, to vote in congressional primaries and will make it easier for working Americans to cast their ballot. I want the House of Representatives to be truly representative, representative of our diversity, representative of our communities, and representative of the national interest.”
The movement to reform the primary system is growing across the country. Activists in Alaska, Arizona, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Florida are working to place nonpartisan primary measures directly on the ballot. Legislators and Secretaries of State in Mississippi, Illinois, Maine and New Mexico are working to advance legislation for open primaries. The movement is driven by the growth of independent voters (41% in the latest Gallup poll) and success of the “Top Two” system in California, Washington, and Nebraska.
Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2) and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) are original cosponsors of the legislation. Congressman Delaney first introduced the Open Our Democracy Act in 2014 during the 113th Congress.
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.