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"Election reform only makes sense if it helps real people dismantle barriers and create a better future together," argue Jessie Fields and John Opdycke.

Push for open primaries in St. Louis is good for the country

Fields is on the board of Open Primaries, a national election reform organization that advocates for open and nonpartisan primary systems. Opdycke is its president.

Open Primaries recently endorsed the STL Approves campaign in St. Louis for approval voting and nonpartisan primaries. It's an important effort, not just for the city, but for the country.

We join local community and civil rights leaders including City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Democratic Party Committeeman Rasheen Aldridge, the Rev. Darryl Gray, the League of Women Voters, Show Me Integrity and the Center for Election Science in endorsing this initiative.

St. Louis is one of only a few remaining major cities — New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Louisville, Indianapolis, Charlotte and Washington are the others — that conduct partisan municipal elections. It's a lousy system. Candidates must first win a partisan primary, and then compete in a general election. More than 80 percent of cities conduct nonpartisan elections and let all voters vote for whomever they want in both the first and second rounds. Like many cities completely dominated by one party, the only election that counts in St. Louis is the Democratic primary; whoever wins the Democratic Primary is the de facto winner.

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