News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

Open Primaries

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. The mission of Open Primaries is to advocate for open and nonpartisan primary systems, counter efforts to impose closed primaries, educate voters and policymakers, advance litigation, train spokespeople, conduct and support research, and participate in the building of local, state and national open primaries coalitions. We provide information to the public about open and nonpartisan primaries. We engage all sectors—voters, policy makers, good government and civic organizations, business leaders, community activists—to educate, build bridges and develop the primary reform movement.
News. Community. Debate. Levers for better democracy.

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The Fahey Q&A with two state legislators pushing to open Maine's primaries

Since organizing the Voters Not Politicians 2018 ballot initiative that put citizens in charge of drawing Michigan's legislative maps, Fahey has been the founding executive director of The People, which is forming statewide networks to promote government accountability. She regularly interviews colleagues in the world of democracy reform for our Opinion section.

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Are the Political Parties Too Weak, Too Strong...or Obsolete? A (historical) conversation with Mickey Edwards

Organizer: Open Primaries

Structural political reform is a booming topic of discussion, theorizing and action. And the question of "What's the role of political parties?" is hugely controversial within the reform arena. Some see stronger political parties as a key element of reform. Others think the parties have outsize control, even monopolistic power. Add to this a rising population of independent voters and it's a volatile mix!

Open Primaries President John Opdycke and former Republican Rep. Mickey Edwards are going to dive right into the hard questions regarding parties — including questions that were as relevant 100 years ago as they are today.

Location: Webinar

Big Picture

Report: Few Americans have a say in most congressional elections

Despite record-high turnout in last year's general election, a new report found that a majority of congressional elections in 2020 were determined by only a small number of voters due to the widely used partisan primary system.

Unite America, which released "The Primary Problem" on Tuesday, found that just 10 percent of voters cast ballots in primaries that ultimately decided the winners of 83 percent of House seats. These "safe" seats are in districts that are reliably retained by the same party in nearly every election, so the real competition is not in the general election but in the primary.

The resulting problem, the report concludes, is high re-election rates for members of Congress, even though most voters don't feel adequately represented by their elected officials or approve of the job they are doing. Unite America's solution: Adopt open and nonpartisan primaries.

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Octavio Jones/Getty Images

When Floridians vote in primaries, only member of political parties may participate. Ashburn hopes to create change — there and across the country.

Why Gen Z needs to fight for the right to be both politically independent and potent

Ashburn is a high school junior in Broward County, Fla., and a founder of two nonprofits, Students for Open Primaries, which will be launched nationwide next week, and Bloom: Empowering the Military Teen. This piece was originally published by Independent Voter News.

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