Open Primaries Arizona: A Year in Review
Here's to a successful 2015!
The only way to make every vote count in Arizona is by changing the political system. In 2015 we enlisted thousands of Arizonans to join the movement for voter empowerment and election reform.
It’s incredible to look back and see the difference that only one year can make. We know we have a long way to go, but we want to take this moment to celebrate our success, and celebrate our supporters for helping us get there. Some highlights include:
Traveling the state listening to people in communities from Tucson to Flagstaff, from Prescott to Phoenix about why reform is necessary.
Engaging community leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds to create local coalitions for election reform. These leaders include a city council member in Sedona, a school board member in Scottsdale, a retired teacher in Tucson, a nonprofit leader in Flagstaff, a civic activist in Prescott, a business leader in the west Phoenix area, and many more.
Creating a coalition of Latino leaders, led by attorney Danny Ortega, to involve the state’s largest growing demographic whose vote is being suppressed in the current system.
Working with Independents for Arizona to organize the largest bloc of voters in the state to join the movement.
Watch the full annual report from our national organization
In March, we asked Senator Charles Schumer to ask the New York Democratic primary to open its 2016 presidential primary to independent voters. We collected more than 7,500 signatures!
After Thad Cochran won his U.S. Senate race by appealing to black voters, many suggested Mississippi should move to a closed primary system. Open Primaries started polling Mississippi voters to see how they felt about their election system and found that 84% of Republican and 88% of Democratic voters thought closed primaries would be a step backwards for the state.
The Open Our Democracy Act
Congressman John Delaney introduced H.R. 2655, The Open Our Democracy Act, which would enact Top Two, nonpartisan elections for all Congressional races. Open Primaries launched a campaign to gather support for the bill. More than 1,000 supporters to send letters to their congressional representatives asking them to co-sponsor the bill.
Open Primaries released a comprehensive report on the effectiveness of Nebraska's Top Two primary system and unicameral legislature.
"Its members are elected via a nonpartisan “top two” primary system. The legislature is generally free of the type of strong-arm partisan politics that characterize political activity in Congress and most state legislatures. Although 71% of Nebraska representatives are registered members of the Republican Party, nonpartisan coalitions are commonplace and the Legislature has engaged a wide range of “progressive” issues, from abolishing the death penalty to immigration reform."
This year, Open Primaries worked with National Outreach Director Jason Olson and Associate Professor at University of North Carolina at Greensboro Omar H. Ali, P.hD. to conduct an in-depth study on how Top Two, nonpartisan elections have changed the political culture in California. The report found that since California switched to Top Two, the state has seen (1) more competitive elecitons, (2) increased voter access and (3) a functioning legislature.
Open Primaries activisits in South Dakota, made up of a broad coalition of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, submitted over 39,000 signatures to the South Dakota Secretary of State’s Office on November 9, 2015 to place a proposed amendment to establish nonpartisan elections on the 2016 general election ballot.