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Voters Hail Resolution to Open the Primaries in Florida

CONTACT
Jeremy Gruber
Senior Vice President
jgruber@openprimaries.org
(609) 610-1602

Constitution Revision Commission Becomes Focal Point for Reform

Miami, FL – November 9, 2017 – A broad and diverse coalition, led by Florida-based reform groups Progress for All and Florida Fair and Open Primaries hailed Constitutional Revision Commission (CRC) member Bill Schifino’s newly introduced proposal to open Florida’s primaries to the 3.4 million independent voters who are currently barred from voting in the state’s primary elections.

The coalition is now calling on the entire Commission to embrace Mr. Schifino’s proposal and give Floridians the chance to vote for open primaries in 2018.

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Florida voters demand open primaries

Florida voters demand open primaries

This article was written by Steve Hough for the Tallahassee Democrat

The 2016 primary elections in Florida were a watershed moment for our state. Despite spending some $13 million of their hard earned tax dollars to fund primaries, 3.4 million independent voters were shut out of one of the most important elections in a generation. Millions more voters of all stripes were justifiably appalled by their exclusion.

No matter one’s politics, the right to vote is sacred, and Florida is now one of only nine states with a completely closed primary system that requires participating voters be registered members of a political party in order to vote. Florida’s voters are increasingly registering without a party affiliation, so our election system has become unsustainable.

Floridians recognize how important primary elections have become. Due to gerrymandering and the creation of safe districts for the major parties, 90 percent of all races are determined by primary elections.

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Voters To Demand Open Primaries Tomorrow At Florida Hearing

CONTACT
Jeremy Gruber
Senior Vice President
jgruber@openprimaries.org
(609) 610-1602

Voters To Demand Open Primaries Tomorrow At Florida Hearing

Constitution Revision Commission Becomes Focal Point for Reform

Miami, FL – October 3, 2017 – The Florida Constitution Revision Commission Ethics and Elections Committee begins their first day of deliberations tomorrow and open primaries activists will be in attendance to testify and present over 6,000 signatures from voters across the state in support of a submission demanding the reform of the state’s outdated and exclusionary primary system.

Florida’s current election system bars 3.4 million independent voters – well over a quarter of registered voters in the state -- from casting their votes in primary elections. A recent poll found broad support for reforming the state’s primary elections, with 73% of Floridians-including supermajorities of Republican, Democrat and independent voters-supporting having the Constitution Revision Commission put an open primaries initiative before the voters.

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We Can’t Wait Anymore; We Need Open Primaries Now

This article was written by Becky Trudeau for IVN

Were you unhappy with your choice of candidates in the 2016 election cycle? Do you want to see a broader slate of candidates that are passionate about working to solve the big issues that really affect you and your family in 2018 and beyond? Candidates that aren’t controlled by special interest groups and big money, corporate donors? Then you need to support open primaries in Florida.

Even though primaries are financed by all taxpayers, they are 100% controlled by the Democratic and Republican Parties. Consequently, the message to voters is also controlled by the two parties.

Since all people tend to form their opinions through the lens of partially conceived notions based on a variety of factors with a community of like believers (friends, family, associates, media), we miss out on the benefit of opposing views. It’s extremely easy in this age of information to shut out views that make us uncomfortable, and it is only human nature.

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Party affiliation should not be issue in St. Petersburg mayoral race

This article was written by Glenn Burhans for the Tampa Bay Times

Tampa Bay Times political editor Adam C. Smith — whom I often read and always respect — recently critiqued nonpartisan elections. Examining the St. Petersburg mayoral race between Republican Rick Baker and Democrat Rick Kriseman, Smith wrote that party affiliation tells us "plenty about a candidate" and that ignoring it or making it off-limits in nonpartisan elections is "absurd."

I agree that party affiliation is an important tool indicating to voters a candidate's core beliefs and foreshadowing a governing philosophy. Yet the two major parties have become so extreme that people are rejecting both by registering to vote with "no party affiliation." If current trends continue, the largest group of voters in Florida will soon be those who have declined to wear a party label.

Because of this, party affiliation should not be used to exclude qualified voters from determining who will represent them, as is the case in closed party primaries. Partisan elections should be more like our nonpartisan ones, where all qualified voters can vote regardless of party affiliation of the voter or candidate.

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CRC: Rid us of bane of closed primaries

This letter to the editor was written by Warren Clark and published by The St. Augustine Record

Because of sophisticated gerrymandering by advanced computerized technologies, primary elections are often the moment when winning candidates are selected. Primaries are increasingly the only meaningful round of voting for “We the People” of Florida.

The use of fake candidacies of write-in candidates who have no intention of actually contending by both major parties, frequently blocks majorities of Florida voters from participating.

This results in highly partisan candidates being elected who do not need to work with representatives of districts with differing views. Gridlock, born of unwillingness to compromise to reach solutions that benefit the broadest number of citizens, threatens confidence in the democratic process.

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Activists hope state constitution commission will advance changes in Florida primary system

This article was written by Anthony Man for the Sun-Sentinel

Government reformers and liberal activists and liberal groups want to reshape a central element of Florida’s election system by changing Florida’s Democrats-only and Republicans-only closed primaries into open primaries in which all independents can vote.

They’re hoping that the state Constitution Revision Commission, which meets once every 20 years, will endorse the idea. The commission holds public hearings Thursday and Friday in South Florida.

Tim Canova, founder of the political group Progress For All, said open primaries “are good for democracy. I think closed primaries keep voters away from the polls.”

John Opdycke, president of the national group Open Primaries, said in a statement that if the commission is “listening to Florida voters” it would place a referendum changing the system on the 2018 ballot.

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America needs to get rid of closed primaries

This editorial was published by The Independent Florida Alligator

As we’re sure you are aware, Florida is a closed primary state. This means that in order to vote in a primary election, Florida residents must be registered with a political party. It also means in the primaries, they are only be able to vote for candidates running for a position within their registered party. In general elections, however, they are able to vote for any candidate in any party.

In our opinion, closed primary states need to be brought to an end. Not only are they restrictive and suppressive, but they further divide our nation by strengthening party identification.

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The People of Florida Have Spoken: They Demand Open Primaries

This article was written by Open Primaries Digital Director Jesse Shayne for IVN

A true demonstration of democracy is underway in Florida. Over the past two months, the Constitution Revision Commission — a political body that will select constitutional amendments to place on the 2018 ballot in Florida — held nine public hearings across the state where voters could speak out about the issues they want addressed. The final hearing took place in Tampa Wednesday night.

Thus far, one of the most popular topics of conversation was open primaries. Dozens of voters turned out at the initial hearings to express how they felt disenfranchised by closed primaries and opined on the unconstitutionality of forcing taxpayers to fund primaries they can’t vote in. But that’s far from all they had to say.

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Your time to speak to Constitution Review Commission

This article was written by Franklin Fear for News-Press.com

If you’re like me, and you would like to see open primary elections in Florida, then you'll want to participate in an historic gathering next week in Fort Myers.

The Constitution Revision Commission (CRC) will meet from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday at Suncoast Credit Union Arena on the campus of Florida SouthWestern State College.

Why is the CRC important? The state commission only meets once every 20 years. It engages in a year-long process focusing on Constitutional issues it believes require further consideration. If CRC members agree change is needed in Florida's Constitution, then one or more amendments will be placed on the following year’s General Election ballot (2018 in this case). If 60% of Florida voters approve an amendment, it’s added to the Florida Constitution.

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