- Russell Daniels published Washington Post Opinion: Open primaries in Maryland would help end political divisiveness in Open Primaries in the News 2021-09-09 15:09:28 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Unite NY Coalition Calls on Governor Kathy Hochul for Comprehensive Reforms in New York State in Open Primaries in the News 2021-09-03 12:38:24 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Independent voter registrations surge in Arizona as parties fall in Open Primaries in the News 2021-08-12 00:57:24 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Judge says Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system is legal in Open Primaries in the News 2021-08-04 18:00:19 -0400
- Russell Daniels published 3 Reasons Open Primaries Would Transform American Politics in Open Primaries in the News 2021-08-04 16:42:21 -0400
- Russell Daniels published GOP, Democratic parties grow, but independents grow most in Open Primaries in the News 2021-08-04 15:12:29 -0400
- Russell Daniels published The Colorado GOP may opt out of open primaries – and into a death spiral in Open Primaries in the News 2021-07-29 14:56:19 -0400
- Russell Daniels published The closed primary, or how to leave out a million voters in Open Primaries in the News 2021-07-20 12:19:42 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Why Every Assumption The Two Parties Have About Latino Voters Is Wrong in Open Primaries in the News 2021-07-20 12:08:20 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Study Confirms Big 2020 Takeaways: Biden’s Gains With Suburban Voters, Independents, Won Him Election in Open Primaries in the News 2021-07-01 14:27:36 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Nevada should let independents vote in party primaries in Open Primaries in the News 2021-06-30 16:15:34 -0400
- Russell Daniels published Maine Legislature Passes Open Primaries Bill! 400,000 Voters Enfranchised in Press Releases 2021-06-29 14:06:26 -0400
There aren’t many industries out there in which your job performance has little to no impact on whether you keep your job.As an owner of a manufacturing plant in Baltimore City, I can say with certainty that if any of my employees ever refused to do their jobs or antagonized their colleagues while refusing to work together, they’d be fired.
Open Primaries and Open Primaries Maine launched an effort in 2017 to enact semi-open primaries legislation. It passed after a multi-year campaign in June 2021. This report will shed light on this multi-year process and offer political reform advocates ideas and practical lessons learned that can be useful in other venues:
Trust: Open Primaries staff spent several years on the ground in the state, building a presence and developing relationships. Similarly, Open Primaries Maine was constructed exclusively with local leaders who had deep roots in Maine and were known to/had relations with the legislature and political class.
Bill Sponsors: Initial bill lead sponsor and supporters were recruited from Maine’s unusual class of independent legislators. It was insufficient. A new lead sponsor, Chloe Maxmin, emerged from within the majority Democratic Party. She joined with a co- sponsor with similar standing in the minority Republican caucus. That bipartisan formula was critical, as it provided a bulwark against the claim the bill was being used to advantage one party over the other. The youth of both lead sponsors was also a key asset as both were seen as emerging leaders in their respective parties that needed their respective caucasus’ support. It also meant they were able to offer a significant amount of energy, connectivity and willingness to prioritize and work their caucuses for support.
Relation to other reforms: Reform was not new to Maine. Maine has recently adopted several new election reforms, from ranked choice voting to automatic voter registration. These reforms, which were developed by local campaigns, have helped create a legitimacy and receptiveness to new reform conversations both within and outside the legislature.
Collaboration inside the legislature: The development of open primaries legislation was not restricted to the lead sponsor and leadership of her caucus. It was developed with input from members of both the Republican and Democratic Party caucuses through a deliberative process that included multiple amendments. That process, which took opponent’s objections seriously, created a broad class of stakeholders and helped convert numerous opponents into supporters.
Collaboration outside the legislature: The Open Primaries and Maine Open Primaries teams were very complimentary-the national team brought a high level of understanding of the issues and experience of building coalitions/campaigns and stakeholders on it and the local team brought an understanding of the state’s legislative/political climate as well as extensive local relationships. The key to success, however, was not staying in our lanes. Both teams interacted on a regular basis to question each other and develop a grounded strategic plan.
Framing: From the beginning, this campaign was framed as a voting rights, pro democracy campaign. We did not use language such as fighting hyper- partisanship or anti-party. The campaign was framed as one of fundamental fairness-giving Maine’s sizable population of independent voters the right to vote.
Local validators: Every supporter of the bill, from within the legislature and from the public at large, was put to work. Every member of the legislature was asked to write an op-ed or letter in support and to recruit other members of their caucus. Every member of the public was asked to write articles and letters, join organized public forums to discuss the bill and post on social media. Much of that outreach was organized in a targeted way by the campaign-i.e. letters from the public to papers in districts where supporting members needed to be recruited, outreach to relevant committee chairs by members etc. Supporting organizations weren’t just recruited; the campaign worked to develop their organizational positions on the issue and their prioritization of the issues. Prime example is the ongoing development of the LWV from a position of “neither for nor against” open primaries to one of support, and then further to making open primaries their lead priority and committing substantial resources to it.
Long game: The successful campaign to enact open primaries in Maine took several years to complete. That was anticipated. We had to build a fertile climate within and outside the legislature to allow a bill for open primaries to succeed. Accepting the timeline required for enacting lasting reform allowed us to engage in a series of activities that gave Mainers ownership of the reform in a way that will guard against future attempts to alter or repeal it.
A Broad Coalition Calls for a Special Session to Pass Comprehensive Reforms that Put People Over Politics(Governor Hochul) must push for term limits to reduce the odds of another executive believing that they are untouchable.”— Larry Sharpe
In an historic bipartisan vote, the Maine legislature passed a semi-open primary bill--LD 231--allowing independent voters---32% of all Maine voters-the right to pick a party ballot and vote in primary elections for the first time!
In a year where many states considered rolling back voter rights and Congressional reform efforts fell victim to the partisan playbook, Maine offered a stark contrast. Sizable numbers of Republicans joined with a majority of Democrats to pass the bill 27-7 in the Senate and 92-52 in the House. The legislation was championed by Senators Chloe Maxin (D) and Matthew Pouliot (R).
Open Primaries and Open Primaries Maine began work on this issue in 2019. A similar bill was introduced into the 2019 session but failed to pass. After three years of sustained advocacy and public pressure, the bill passed by wide margins in both chambers.
Several factors contributed to the passage. There was significant turnover in the Maine legislature between 2019 and 2021, and the freshman class voted overwhelmingly in favor of letting independents vote in primaries. There has been growing discussion about the growth in the number of independent voters in Maine, especially among veterans and millennial voters, and how their exclusion from round one of the electoral process was contrary to Maine’s culture of civic participation, innovation, and inclusion. Senator Maxmin’s leadership was outstanding. And the Open Primaries local and national teams put in sustained effort to broaden the coalition and secure organizational, leadership, and editorial endorsements.
In celebrating the vote, Open Primaries President John Opdycke declared: “For many years, the attitude about independent voters has been that they should join a party if they want to participate. That’s changing, in Maine and around the country. Elected officials are starting to appreciate that independents want to participate but they don’t like the idea that you have to join a team in order to have a voice. Letting all voters vote may sound simple, but it’s a profound component of what it will take to improve our politics.”
The bill will be sent to the Governor for her signature. It will take effect in 2024.
Happy Independence Day weekend! Here’s a roundup of the Open Primaries activities and achievements that highlight the spirit of independence in the primary reform movement right now:
What just happened?
Big news! Just this afternoon, the Maine Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee (a joint House/Senate committee) debated LD 231, the semi-open primaries bill. They voted the bill positively out of committee with an "ought to pass" recommendation.
The bill’s chief sponsor Senator Chloe Maxmin declared:
WASHINGTON – The major political parties in Arizona have continued to lose voters since the November election, with strident partisanship “turning off” voters and driving them to register as independents, analysts said.
PORTLAND, Ore — The US could have chosen any other system to run elections, but somehow ended up selecting an option with numerous drawbacks: Plurality Voting. The current ‘pick one candidate’ system encourages voters to strategically choose a candidate that isn’t their first choice but is more likely to beat their least favorite choice. Plurality Voting is also vulnerable to the Spoiler Effect, which can swing an election with the entry of a popular third party candidate (see Nader in 2000).
This is an expanded version of a column that appears in the August issue of The Business Monthly newspaper, serving Howard and Anne Arundel counties.
The headlines are full of worries about mounting voter suppression in many states, such as Texas, Georgia, and Wisconsin. But Maryland has long had its own form of voter suppression that goes largely unnoticed.
Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system and top-four open primary are legal and may be used in the 2022 statewide general election, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Gregory Miller ruled Thursday.
PHOENIX — Arizona’s Democratic and Republican parties grew in the second quarter of the year, but the share of independent voters grew even faster.
Figures released Thursday by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs show a net gain of just over 20,000 registered voters for just over 4.32 million in total.
The Colorado Republican Party may opt out of open primaries later this year, and I am torn over how I feel about it.
On one hand, I am an unaffiliated voter who has publicly taken advantageof the ability to participate in either major party primary. Proposition 108, approved by voters in 2016, granted unaffiliated voters that right.
What a fantastic place our city council will be come January when the number of women more than doubles. It will be a female majority — and a long time coming.
Yet, this great news isn’t enough to distract us from a serious problem the continues to plague our city: disenfranchised voters. It’s a problem that affects a much different minority than other parts of the country — non-Democrats.
Latino voters in Texas have the numbers to shift the political paradigm in their state. However, turnout among Latinos continues to lag. There are misconceptions and social stigmas about why this is, but the truth lies in deep systemic issues and a history of disempowerment that has left many feeling voiceless and unrepresented.
Hooray! I may now be able to vote in a primary election without becoming a party member for three months. These “parties” can be fun but often turn out to be uneventful and prescriptive. They are not all that they are cracked up to be.
Study Confirms Big 2020 Takeaways: Biden’s Gains With Suburban Voters, Independents, Won Him Election
President Joe Biden rode to victory in 2020 by making large inroads with suburban voters and independents while retaining the coalition 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton formed in 2016, a sweeping new study from Pew Research Center found, confirming what many political analysts had already concluded.
Nevada should let independents vote in party primaries
I read Rory Appleton’s June 7 article on the Nevada primaries. I have been an independent voter for decades prior to moving to Nevada in 2015, and I was locked out of the caucuses before and will now be locked out of the upcoming primaries. It was disappointing to read that, during the legislative session, state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer’s bill proposing a “blanket primary” died in committee without even getting a hearing.
June 9, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jeremy Gruber (609) 610-1602
Maine Legislature Passes Open Primaries Bill! 400,000 Voters Enfranchised