Posted on June 14, 2016 at 3:59 PM
Senior Vice President
Republican, Democratic Party Conventions on Collison Course with Public Opinion, Research on Open Primaries
New York – June 14, 2016 – The Open Primaries movement has exploded into voters’ consciousness this spring as a direct result of a deeply flawed presidential primary season and voter discontent has propelled the Open Primaries petition to open the presidential primaries well past 25,000 signatures within days of launching.
26.3 million independent voters, including almost half of all millennial voters, were barred from voting in presidential primaries this year. Millions more registered Democrats and Republicans were prevented from voting for the candidate of their choice. The result? Recent polling by the Associated Press and NBC shows the majority of Americans support open primaries. With 43% of Americans now independent voters, a group larger than either major political party, this growing movement is now on a collision course with politics as usual at the July party conventions.
Open Primaries, responding to public demand for primary reform, has launched a petitioncalling on both Democratic and Republican convention rules committees to amend their rules and allow all voters to participate in the Presidential Primaries in 2020. The petition has garnered over 25,000 signatures in less than two weeks. With Bernie Sanders claiming a mandate to open the Democratic Party primaries, Senator Cruz and his delegates declaring they will champion rules barring independents from future GOP contests, and broad support from prominent figures such as Robert Reich and Ralph Nader to the NY Times editorial board, this growing petition from Americans across the country may very well create a tipping point.
“If the parties want to continue to have tax-payers fund their primaries, then everyone should be able to participate,” said John Opdycke, President of Open Primaries. “An open system is better for our country, our people, and even our elected officials, and we hope the parties follow the lead of the American people and conduct open contests in all 50 states in 2020.”
Recent reports by Open Primaries have captured compelling evidence of the impact open primary systems have had on minimizing partisanship and creating healthy, innovative government at the state level.
- Despite a legislature that is 71% Republican, minority party members in the Nebraska legislature regularly hold committee chairs, their bills get hearings and the whole process is transparent. This “red state” has enacted a range of recent reforms, from abolishing the death penalty to prenatal care for illegal immigrants-all over vetoes from a Republican governor elected in a partisan election.
- California which uses a Top Two primary format has gone from a national symbol of dysfunction to a center for innovation with on time budgets and a range of reforms from immigration to climate change. Minority representation has also grown significantly under the new system.
These studies and much more can be reviewed at www.OpenPrimaries.org.
“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.
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.