Ms. Wasserman Schultz and Ms. Tant “Let’s Test Democracy in Florida!”
Please entertain the idea of opening the 2014 Democratic Primary to minority, independent party, and No Party Affiliation (NPA) voters.
As a non-partisan movement, FIVOrg is actively pursuing a constitutional amendment to change our primary elections to a Top 2 Open Primary system, like California and Washington State. We believe voters should participate in determining primary election outcomes, not political operatives in both parties. We also believe closed primaries are an important voting rights issue because over 2.8 Million minority and independent party and No Party Affiliation voters cannot vote in primary elections.
Opening the Florida Democratic Primary in 2014 would be a significant step in demonstrating the power of minority and independent party, and NPA voters. This action also demonstrates the willingness of the Democratic Party to do something bold and meaningful. If a person is allowed to vote in a primary would it follow that they would feel like they were part of the democratic process and be more likely to turn out in the general election?
What better way to determine the real level of voter support to win the general election against the Republicans?
In 2010, Alex Sink lost to Rick Scott by only 61,550 (~1%) votes. Independents, minority party, and NPA voters cast over 180,000 votes in the election indicating a tremendous untapped resource given the size of this voter population. Democrats currently outnumber Republicans by about 500,000 registered voters but mid-term election years have notoriously low turnouts with an average of 22% (1998-2010).
Those 500,000 votes weren’t enough to give Ms. Sink the victory in 2010. Conducting a primary with Democrats, minority and independent parties and NPA voters provides you a unique opportunity to show voters you want to be inclusive. Open the door and take the chance!
As independents, FIVOrg does not endorse candidates for office. Our sole purpose is to provide all voters an equal opportunity to express their preference for a candidate during primary elections. If the Republican Party of Florida has to hold a primary we will ask them to accept the same challenge.
Please comment on the proposed idea outlined above. Florida needs to wake up in a mid-term election year or face another four years of a Republican dominated state. We plan to send this message to the Florida Democratic Party to raise awareness of our movement to introduce Top 2 Open Primaries in Florida and challenge them to a meaningful experiment in real democracy rather than the current party-dominated process.
Contact Ray here.
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a great point. democrats and republican lawmakers should be in favor of being representative of more voters, not less.
I think it is ironic that while there is movement across the nation to open the primaries to at least non-affiliated voters, the Democratic party in Hawaii started a lawsuit against the open primary that has been in place since 1978.
I wonder how much the primaries in Florida cost to the state. It is the same problem we see in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and other states with a significant population of independent voters who cannot participate in the primaries and yet they help pay for them.
Thanks for the comment.
I've pondered that point as well but consider the following: If Republican & Democrat Primaries are held at the same time and cost X dollars how much added or reduced cost would occur if a Top 2 Open Primary was held in place of the major party primaries. Discounting the cost of printing longer ballots would there be any real savings?
True but they have to register with the party whose primary they want to vote in and then have to reregister has independents again. They can vote but it is more complicated for them to do so than affiliated voters.