The Open Primary Elections Amendment Act That Doesn’t Open Primaries

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, D.C. City Council member David Grosso introduced new legislation he calls the “Open Primary Election Amendment Act.” The bill would reform current election law to allow unaffiliated voters a chance to change their party affiliation up to election day if they want to vote in partisan primaries. However, by continuing to require independent voters to register with a private organization, the reform doesn’t really open primaries up to all voters.

Independent voters are so for a reason. This is who they are. They do not want to be affiliated with a party because if they did, they would register with a party. It continues to be a slap in the face to the millions of voters who want to remain unaffiliated nationwide to tell them that they have to be registered with a private organization to participate in public election — which primaries are.

From the bill:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the “Open Primary Elections Amendment Act of 2014”.

 

Sec. 2. Section 7(g) of the District of Columbia Election Code of 1955, approved August 12, 1955 (69 Stat. 702; D.C. Official Code § 1-1001.07(g)), is amended as follows:

 

(a) Paragraph (4) is amended by striking the phrase “A qualified elector shall not change his or her party affiliation after the 30th day preceding an election.” in its entirety.

 

(b) Paragraph (5) is amended by striking the phrase “A qualified elector shall not change his or her party affiliation on election day.” in its entirety.

The right to a meaningful vote is fundamental. It is not a right members of political parties can bestow on others, and yet some have the arrogance to tell people the conditions on which they are allowed to vote and the extent of this right. The fact that there are partisans who say that if you want to vote, join a party, shows how far we have been led astray from the founding principles of our Republic.

It’s Not About Parties, It’s About Voters

An Argument for Open Primaries in Washington, DC

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