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Open Primaries

Don't Let It Happen Again: California's Unconstitutional Presidential Primary

Imagine that California’s 4.7 million Republican and 8.6 million Democrat voters were not able to vote for a presidential candidate of their choice in March 2020.

And NO ONE seemed to care.

California’s 5.6 million NPP voters don’t have to imagine, because for the state's second-largest voting bloc by a wide margin, this IS their reality. Even though California’s constitution requires an “open presidential primary,” meaning every voter is supposed to be able to vote for whomever they want, they cannot.

This is a fundamental civil rights issue that contributes directly to the suppression of voter rights and magnification of partisanship.

The issue has the attention of state election officials. They are not only planning a massive education effort to ensure NPP voters are aware of the complicated primary election rules, but also calling on elected officials to adequately address the problem.

Movement Gains National Traction

A growing coalition of national and local organizations have signed on in support, including: The National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers (which represents more than 30 reform organizations), RepresentUs, Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund, Open Primaries, FairVote, and many more.

These organizations span the ideological spectrum, but all agree that a voter’s right to participate in a taxpayer-funded election should not be subject to the control of any private political party. In fact, it is this First Amendment “right of non-association” the Supreme Court recognized in Democratic Party v. Jones to close California’s old “open blanket” primary.

“No voter should have to join a party or participate in a party’s private nomination process as a condition of exercising their fundamental right of vote in an important and taxpayer-funded election process," says Independent Voter Project legal advisor Chad Peace.

The Independent Voter Project has just launched a video to educate and activate the electorate. See above.

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