September 2021 Newsletter - Open Primaries
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September 2021 Newsletter

Posted by Russell Daniels on October 19, 2021 at 9:34 AM

What, Where, Who & How--from Open Primaries

What’s Happening? 

ICYMI: Maine’s legislature passed a historic open primaries bill--which will unlock the primaries to ALL Maine voters. The success of the Maine campaign was the product of a multi-year collaborative process between Open Primaries, Open Primaries Maine, elected officials, civic groups, party leaders, editorial boards, journalists, and citizens throughout the state to champion the right of all Maine voters to participate in primaries. 

We learned a great deal about what it takes to mobilize legislators--Democrats, Republicans and independents--to support structural reform and now we’re excited to share with you a brand new report we’ve created: Success Story: What it Took to Bring Open Primaries to Maine

We hope this report can serve as a tool for activists, reformers, and anyone working to make politics and government more responsive and fair.  We highly encourage you read the full report and help us circulate it widely: 

We also want to give a special shout out to Veterans for Political Innovation for all their support in the Maine campaign. Almost half of all U.S. military veterans are registered independent and shut out of voting in closed primaries. VPI played an important role in passing open primaries and are continuing their work mobilizing veterans around political reform across the country. If you’re a veteran or active duty military or family member, learn how to get involved and sign up for their official launch event here

 

Where…?

Maryland! Currently, 20% of Maryland voters are barred from voting in primaries just because they aren’t registered in one of the two major parties. It’s negatively impacting politics in the state-and it’s only getting worse.

Baltimore business owner, Drew Greenblatt recently penned an opinion piece for The Washington Post on how opening Maryland’s primaries could help end the political divisiveness plaguing his state: 

 “When something isn’t working in my factory, we take a look at the process and fix the problem at its root cause. The same concept can and should be applied to our political system. Nonpartisan primaries offer a real-world solution. With nonpartisan primaries, all voters get a say in who represents them, regardless of party affiliation. No longer are politicians' performance reviews being done by voters who already agree with them, but by all voters.”

-Drew Greenblatt

As Greenblatt points out, if you ran a business like Maryland runs its politics, you’d be in trouble!  We need to stop rewarding division and start putting voters ahead of the parties--it’s time to open Maryland’s primaries to all eligible voters! 

Who…?

Our friends at the Princeton Gerrymandering Project have announced the results of their Great American Map Off, a concept challenging the public to draw and submit their own redistricting plans in anticipation of the 2021 redistricting cycle!

“We were fortunate to receive diverse entries from amatuer mappers both within the U.S. and Canada. In some cases, entrants had only rudimentary mapping experience, but had substantial familiarity with local communities, underscoring the importance of public engagement within the mapping process and any public input periods following the upcoming release of redistricting maps. People can use these available online tools, and they can have a voice in the redistricting process.” 

Hannah Wheelan

Data & Technology Lead, Princeton Gerrymandering Project

Participants were judged in 4 unique categories: communities of interest, stealth gerrymander, competitiveness, and partisan fairness. Nathaniel Fischer of Boone, North Carolina was the 1st place winner. He used multiple datasets to create districts in North Carolina incorporating communities of interest, with the intent to build a map that a native North Carolinian would be excited about.

We here at Open Primaries applaud the project and believe it’s a fantastic template in a reform process rooted in the needs and interests of a community. 

 Who else?

Andrew Yang’s planning to launch his own  political party next month. In a recent Fulcrum piece, OP President John Opdycke weighs in and talks about the challenges of organizing a political party to appeal to people who don’t like political parties. Read his full statement here: 

How…?

Over 50% of young voters are opting out of the two major parties, including growing numbers of young voters of color. Closed primaries are disenfranchising the next generation of voters. What can we do?

Students for Open Primaries, a student-led organization focused on reaching and engaging with students around primary reform, is currently recruiting Student Ambassadors from all across the country. They’ve also been collaborating with student-led coalitions such as Students Learn, Students Vote Coalition and more. 

They’ve recruited state based ambassadors from Oregon to  Florida.. If you, or someone you know is a high school or college student who might be interested in volunteering, or becoming an Ambassador, please contact [email protected]

Learn more and get involved here: 

The Open Primaries Virtual Discussion Series will be returning in October--we’ve got some fascinating panelists and conversations in the works--be on the lookout for our first invite in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can catch up on all our past discussions on our Youtube channel here: 

 


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published this page in Newsletter 2021-10-19 09:34:01 -0400