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The State of Reform
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Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.
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Florida may be on the verge of scrapping partisan primaries for most elections.

Florida voters will decide whether to end partisan primaries

Floridians will decide this fall whether to transform the state's polarized politics by opening most primaries to all voters, regardless of party.

Because Florida is the nation's biggest battleground state, the result will be enormously important to the future of one of the core causes of the democracy reform world — diminishing the Republican and Democratic duopoly over political power.

The measure's place on the November ballot was assured Thursday by the state Supreme Court, which is called on to review every constitutional amendment proposed through the gathering of petition signatures. The court ruled 4-1 that the proposal met the necessary legal and clarity requirements.

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A voter in Florida's closed primary in August 2018. A measure on next November's ballot would create an open, top-two primary system for state elections.

Proposal for an open, top-two primary in Florida secures spot on 2020 ballot

Floridians look increasingly likely to vote next year on a proposal to dramatically alter the way primaries for state offices are conducted.

Officials this week decided the proposed amendment to the state Constitution had garnered enough petition signatures to earn a place on the November 2020 ballot. But the two major parties are still fighting the idea.

If the state embraces the citizen-led ballot measure, which is far from certain, it would grant the ardent wishes of many democracy reformers. They say participation in the process and faith in the system would improve if more people were able to participate more often — and if more candidates on the ballot had realistic chances of winning.

The proposal would do this by creating an open, top-two system for nominating candidates for elections to state offices, including governor and all members of the Legislature, in the nation's third most populous state.

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Jungle Primary

A nominating election where all qualifying candidates, aligned with political parties and independents, appear on a single ballot. The candidates receiving the most and second-most votes advance to the general election, without regard to party affiliation. Also known as a "top-two primary."

Read more about jungle primaries.

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