Posted on May 11, 2016 at 10:07 AM
Over a Half-Million Oregonians Barred from Next Week’s Election
Oregon’s Primary System Prevents Meaningful Reform
New York – May 11, 2016 – Next week’s primary in Oregon will be hotly contested; with more
delegates at stake than any other state left to vote until the June 7th primary. Yet 676,000
independent Oregonians, including almost half of all millennial voters, will be barred from
casting a ballot in next week’s primary election despite paying for it with their tax dollars – a
burden that cost Oregonian taxpayers $3,006,688 for the last state presidential primary.
Voter suppression takes many forms: long lines, incompetent administration,
arbitrary registration deadlines, and archaic voter identification requirements. But these
barriers, while serious, pale in comparison to the impact that closed, partisan primaries will have
on the ability of over a half-million people in Oregon to cast a ballot and have a real choice in
voting for a candidate they support. Equally egregious, Republican voters and Democratic voters
will be forced to choose a candidate from one party and not allowed the choice to vote for a
candidate of a different party in this most decisive of Oregon primary elections. Oregon
shouldn’t have different rules for different voters. We must protect the right to vote for
all Americans and bring our politics into the 21st century.
“The American people—liberals, conservatives, and the millions of us who don’t like labels at
all—want progress, innovation, development, new ideas and new approaches. Gridlock and
partisanship wrapped up in a bow and sold to us as stability is a lie and a deception, and the
people know it. That’s why the open primaries movement is growing day by day all across the
country,” said John Opdycke, president of Open Primaries.
Independents have been influential in states where they are allowed to vote. Exit polling in the
Massachusetts primary found that independent voters—52% of the electorate—who participated
in the Democratic primary chose Bernie Sanders by a nearly 2-1 margin.
In New Hampshire, where 4 in 10 voters are registered independent, exit polling found that
independents voted overwhelmingly for Trump (38%), significantly increasing his margins over
the next closest challenger Kasich (18%). The margin was even more overwhelming in the
Democratic primary, where 72% of independent voters broke for Sanders. Sanders's historic
upset in Michigan is widely regarded as the result of the state’s open-primary system.
Bernie Sanders has voiced his support for an open primary system, most recently in a
Washington Post interview where he stated, “Clearly the final decisions will be made by the
states, but ... I think clearly the convention and the Democratic National Committee can change
the rules and can create a scenario that makes it clear that we want open primaries in 50 states in
Primary reform is crucial for Oregon because candidates elected through a closed partisan
primary system have no incentive to overhaul the system. We can’t make real progress in
reforming our political system until we open up our primaries. We can’t make progress without
the full participation of “We the People.”
For Oregonian’s fed up with the partisan paralyses of our government, election reform offers real
hope for the future. The time has come to level the playing field and enact a fair and open
primary system. Open Primaries is dedicated to ensuring that every eligible citizen can go to the
polls, vote their choice and cast a ballot that counts.
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