Open primaries probably won't be on the ballot after all — and people are pissed

Going into a hearing this week that could have advanced a proposal to get open primaries on Florida's November ballot, fans of the idea, fresh from a small victory last week, were optimistic.

The proposal was working its way through Florida's Constitutional Revision Commission, which meets every 20 years to weigh potential new amendments to the state constitution. Whatever they approve goes onto the November ballot.

One of these, if it were placed on the ballot and approved by voters, would let all voters participate in primary elections regardless of party affiliation, and create a system in which the top two vote getters in a given primary contest of two or more candidates, regardless of party, move on to the general.

Those in favor of such an approach to democracy — and there are many — argue that it would invite Florida's growing number of third-party voters into the process.

But the CRC's General Provisions Committee shut the proposal out with a 7-0 vote Thursday, leaving the measure's proponents disheartened but determined to get it on the ballot.

"We aren't going away,” said Jeremy Gruber, who's vice president of Open Primaries, an entity that promotes the idea nationally. “You can't stand in the way of what the people want forever.”

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