Illinois Voters Frustrated with Partisanship and Seek Solution to Parties’ “Rigged System,” Reveals Survey - Open Primaries
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Posted on December 15, 2015 at 9:00 AM

December 15, 2015


Jeremy Gruber
Senior Vice President
(609) 610-1602

Illinois Voters Frustrated with Partisanship and Seek Solution to Parties’ “Rigged System,” Reveals Survey 

New York, NYDecember 15, 2015 – Today Open Primaries, a national leader on election reform, released the results of a statewide survey of Illinois voters that finds overwhelming discontent with the state’s political environment, notably following six straight months of posturing between the state’s newly elected Republican governor and its Democratic-controlled General Assembly that has left Illinois without a balanced budget. Survey participants indicated the Illinois “system is rigged by the parties in their favor.” The solution to alter this political culture they say is implementation of nonpartisan reforms such as a Top Two primary election that would prevent Illinois voters’ desire for fiscal responsibility from being overshadowed by narrow party agendas.

The survey findings reveal a deep dissatisfaction with the state of Illinois politics, with 82% of respondents supporting nonpartisan reform and change in the political culture of Illinois. 

  • 73% of respondents said the current political environment in Illinois fails to produce effective elected officials.
  • 81% strongly or somewhat agree that parties have become too powerful and rigged the system in their favor over the voters.
  • When presented with reform options, 82% of voters indicated support for either open primaries or Top Two nonpartisan primaries--with Top Two being the preferred primary system of 52% of respondents.
  • After hearing about the impact of Top Two on the political environment in California and Nebraska, 76% of respondents said they would support a ballot initiative to bring nonpartisan Top Two primaries to Illinois.

Open Primaries asked the voters about an ongoing effort by Independent Maps to reform the way legislative districts are drawn. 

  • 42% of respondents were already aware there was an effort underway to change the way electoral districts are drawn.
  • After being told about the effort, 89% of respondents said they would vote for an amendment to implement an independent redistricting commission.

"Both sides in the current budget battle are claiming that they represent the voice of the people.  But Illinois voters—Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike—want a new political arrangement, not more partisanship.  They want elected officials to work together to balance the budget without ignoring the poor or demonizing organized labor.  The voters want innovation and progress, but the political system in Illinois is completely partisan.  It doesn’t allow for that.” 

 -John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries 

“The current budget crisis is the result of poor leadership over the course of many years. Our leaders cannot govern because they are blinded by the demands of partisanship and fail to do right by the people.  Top Two would make races more competitive and force elected officials to govern in the best interest of all voters, not just those of the gerrymandered districts. Let’s put an end to the stranglehold on government and open up the primaries to create an electoral system reflective of true democracy.”

- Jarrell Corley, Illinois Open Primaries Activist

Open Primaries surveyed 505 voters from 11 Aug 2015 - 11 Nov 2015.  The survey included an equal sampling of Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters.  It was designed to gauge voters’ opinion on the political environment in Illinois and provide voter education about nonpartisan reform.  

The success of Top Two in California, coupled with similar successes in Washington and Nebraska, shows that a nonpartisan election can have systemic impacts on accountability and effectiveness of elected officials. These successes, combined with the rise of Independents (now 43% according to the latest Gallup poll) have contributed to the growth of the primary reform movement nationally. Activists in Alaska, Arizona, and South Dakota are working to place nonpartisan primary measures directly on the ballot. Legislators and Secretaries of State in Mississippi, Illinois, New Mexico, Virginia, Michigan and Oklahoma are working to advance legislation for open primaries.



Available for Interview

John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries (based in New York City)

Jarrell Corley, Illinois Open Primaries Activist (based in Chicago)


About Open Primaries

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. More information about Open Primaries, its mission and work, can be found at


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published this page in Press Releases 2015-12-14 15:49:44 -0500