Posted on August 29, 2016 at 10:10 AM
Senior Vice President
Research Finds Floridians Have Already Spent over 13 Million Dollars on Closed Primaries This Year
Ahead of Florida’s Primary Election Tomorrow, Survey Finds 87% of Respondents Support Structural Political Change to Nonpartisan Primaries
New York – August 29, 2016 – This year’s presidential primaries cost Florida taxpayers at least $13,280,871 according to an analysis by election reform group Open Primaries. Indeed, the gross lack of transparency by Florida officials on the costs of primary elections likely makes the true cost of Florida’s primaries much higher. While 3.2 million voters in the state of Florida– well over a quarter of registered voters in the state -- will be blocked from voting in tomorrow’s primary election, millions more of their tax dollars will fund tomorrow’s closed primaries.
“The idea that our primary elections are simply private party nominating contests is a lie and a deceit that obfuscates the fact that they are publicly run and paid for with millions of dollars of taxpayer money. Florida’s primary elections are administered in public buildings and run by publicly paid for employees on publicly owned machines. Florida’s primary election differs from its general election in one key respect only; that it excludes 3.2 million voters, including half of all millennial voters, and prevents millions more major party voters from exercising real choice in voting.
Everyone should be allowed to vote. Voting for who you want shouldn’t be controversial. We must stop prioritizing personal political advantage over strengthening our democracy. Our politics has become dysfunctional because our election system is undemocratic.”
-- Jeremy Gruber, Senior Vice President, Open Primaries
The release of Open Primaries’ cost analyses of Florida’s primary elections comes on the heels of a statewide survey of Florida’s independent voters leading up to the state’s presidential primary elections earlier this year that found them feeling helpless and unconnected – 73% of respondents stated they do not feel represented in either party – and deeply frustrated by the lack of inclusion and level of dysfunction in their government, with the vast majority (83%) indicating they would support opening up the Florida primaries to all the voters.
Other key findings Include:
- 95% of respondents view identifying as an independent as a way to focus on the candidates and the issues, regardless of the candidates’ party affiliation
- 85% do not feel Florida’s current voting system is fair to independent voters
- 87% think Florida needs a more inclusive political process in order to empower voters, support structural political change to nonpartisan primaries
- 93% prefer a truly independent redistricting commission
"It is an outrage that independent voters are being excluded from the political conversation at a time when our political system is in turmoil! Florida’s voters are angry that we can’t move forward in solving the serious policy issues this country faces. We need more open doors, and more participation, not less, to secure our democracy.”
-- 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.