Where to go from here - Open Primaries Arizona
Blog Background

Where to go from here

Posted by jesse shayne on July 07, 2016 at 5:07 PM


This year’s presidential primary was a disgrace. Many of us waited in line for as long as five hours to vote; others were unable to vote altogether. Officials blamed us, the voters, rather than take responsibility for a failed system. And the system is failing us.

Primaries in the state of Arizona, and in many other states that have closed primaries, are the biggest form of voter suppression that there is in this country, because people are not allowed to vote for whom they want. People are forced to vote for who the parties want them to vote for and it is time that we change that. It is my belief that unless we vote in primaries, we do not get invested in the process. We’ve heard people say all too often: “why vote in general elections, if the people who won in the primaries are going to win anyway?” And they are right! How can we possibly argue that more people need to get out to vote when they know the system is rigged and the results are predetermined for them?

Although our mission to bring open primaries for every elected office in Arizona will not be on the ballot this year, we still have a very real opportunity to affect the next presidential primary in our state and across the country. Open Primaries is leading a national campaign to make our electoral system fairer. They are currently securing signatures on a petition that will be delivered to the parties at their conventions this month, calling on them to open the presidential primaries in all 50 states, including Arizona. Will you sign it?

For years, I’ve been fighting for electoral reform, to make our political system accountable to voters -- not the parties. And I believe that the first step in doing that is by allowing voters to vote for whom they want.

Ninety percent of candidates who win in the primaries are already elected. There are only four or five districts in Arizona where you can still make a difference by getting out to vote. In the rest of the districts, it doesn’t matter if you vote -- the outcome is already decided before the general election, in the primary.

We need to build a culture of voting, and it starts with the primaries and with having a choice for people, not parties. Eighty-one percent of Latinos surveyed stated they would be more likely to vote if they had the opportunity to make the primaries open and nonpartisan.

It’s not enough to be fed up with the partisan paralyses of our government, we must demand the changes necessary to fix it and show the politicians in Washington that we CAN reform our democracy.

Please join me and sign the petition to open the presidential primaries!

Danny Ortega is an attorney and the former Board Chair of the National Council of La Raza.