Rep. John Delaney Re-Introduces ‘Open Our Democracy Act’ in Congress

On Thursday, U.S. Representative John Delaney (D-Md.) re-introduced the Open Our Democracy Act. The bill reforms how primary elections are conducted for House and Senate elections, creates a path for the nationwide use of independent redistricting commissions, and makes Election Day a national holiday.

“The Congress that works best for America is the Congress that best reflects America,” said Delaney in a press release.

“Warped districts dominated by one party and unnecessary roadblocks to voting for working families have meant that the voice of the people has not been fully heard. The Open Our Democracy Act puts us on a path towards national redistricting reform, allows all registered voters, including independents, to vote in congressional primaries and will make it easier for working Americans to cast their ballot. I want the House of Representatives to be truly representative, representative of our diversity, representative of our communities, and representative of the national interest.”

The Open Our Democracy Act:

  • Open Primaries: the Open Our Democracy Act would establish open primaries for all House and Senate elections. Under this system, which is also known as top-two primaries, all candidates regardless of party appear on a single primary ballot, which is open to all voters. The top two vote-getters then advance to the general election.
  • Makes Election Day a Holiday: the Open Our Democracy Act establishes that Election Day should be treated as a federal public holiday.
  • Redistricting Reform: the Open Our Democracy Act directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of existing redistricting procedures on the representation of minority and community interests in Congress. The GAO produces legislative recommendations for requiring all states to conduct congressional redistricting via independent commissions. The legislation also creates a path for subsequent legislation with the GAO’s recommendations to be considered by the Judicial Committee and on the House floor. Should a Member introduce GAO’s recommendations, the Judiciary Committee would have sixty days to report the legislation before any Member would have the privilege of bringing the bill to the House floor for a Yes/No vote.

Delaney is joined by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), whose state currently has a nonpartisan, top-two open primary. Delaney first introduced the Open Our Democracy Act in 2014 during the 113th Congress.

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