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One Congressman Pushes Bill To Eliminate Party Primaries

Created: 24 October, 2017
Updated: 17 October, 2022
2 min read

Washington is a mess. Our politics doesn’t work. Politicians are pointing at the voters as the problem -- that somehow we’ve become less civil, more polarized and less able to come together across partisan divisions.

But we know that’s not the case.

Millions of Americans are now attuned to the ways that partisan gerrymandering and closed primaries exacerbate partisanship and gridlock, and allow Congress to get away with not doing their jobs.

Roughly 95% of congressional races were determined in the primary last year, thanks mostly to partisan gerrymandering. Meanwhile, closed primaries lock out 25 million independent voters and limit the choices of everyone else. Put the two together and you get a system where a tiny group of hyper-partisan voters choose who represents everyone the vast majority of the time.

The problem is so bad that the Harvard Business Review just released a report saying that, “the current partisan primary system is perhaps the single most powerful obstacle to achieving outcomes for the common good.”

One member of Congress is now saying enough is enough. Earlier this year, Congressman John Delaney re-introduced the Open Our Democracy Act, which would implement nonpartisan open primaries for congressional races and create independent redistricting commissions to draw fair -- not gerrymandered -- congressional districts. It would also make Election Day a federal holiday.

Delaney is taking on the entire DC establishment for the sake of empowering the American people. He needs our help.

Open Primaries is rallying around Delaney’s crucial bill. We want to show Delaney that he has support, and demonstrate to Congress that they can’t keep putting off a solution to our broken electoral system; not when millions of Americans support open primaries and independent redistricting.

The Open Our Democracy Act would fundamentally change our political system. It would force candidates to represent the will of ALL the voters -- not just the partisan few -- and would greatly reduce the amount of hyper-partisan gridlock and bickering that has become the norm in Congress. It would change everything.

Just look at California, which used to be the poster-child for uncompetitive elections, political corruption, and legislative incompetence. In 2008, the state passed a ballot measure for independent redistricting, and in 2010, it passed a ballot measure for (nonpartisan, top-two) open primaries.

The result? A 300% increase in voter approval of the state legislature; a state that now has the most competitive elections in the nation; and a political culture where bipartisan compromise is considered the norm, not the exception.

We can replicate the success of California at the national level. Open Primaries is working to make that happen, and US Rep. John Delaney’s bill offers us the most straightforward path toward that goal.

Contact your congressional representatives in support of the Open Our Democracy Act today. Let’s get this bill a hearing and send a message to John Delaney that we have his back.