Florida Call For 2018 Fair & Open Primaries Election Reform

Steve Hough is leading a Florida Fair and Open Primaries campaign for top-two nonpartisan primaries. His group is working to get a state constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot to "fix" the terrible closed primary system that currently locks out 3.1 million independent voters in Florida, and seriously suppresses the voices of young people.

Remember, nationally, 48% of Millennial (age 18 to 35) voters are not affiliated with a political party and do not like party-politics. - NPR, Feb. 28, 2016.

Every 20 years, Florida convenes the Constitution Revision Commission. It’s a group of 37 political appointees that have the power to put constitutional amendments before the voters in 2018. Coming on the heels of the most destructive and divisive presidential campaigns ever, it’s a welcome opportunity for Floridians to demand the commission help fix our broken elections.


Despite very little notice of the commission hearings, Floridians are packing rooms to speak their minds. In fact, the commission had to move several meetings to larger rooms to accommodate the large crowds.
One of the key topics cited by dozens of speakers: getting rid of the horrible closed primary system that locks out over a quarter of our registered voters and forces politicians to cater to a small fraction of the electorate during the primary, where the majority of races are actually decided. These primary voters are often the most ideologically extreme in both major parties.
A closed primary suppresses the vote of people, who do not like political party-politics. Independent voters want to vote for the person, not the political machine behind the politician. They want the candidate to be beholding to "we the people" not the Democrats or Republicans, and the often politically corrupting party system. 

Now more than ever, Florida needs to shift to open primary elections in order to accommodate the rapidly growing number of independent voters that are now a larger group of voters nationally than the Democrats or Republicans: 39% of all voters now identify themselves as "independent" rather than affiliated with one of the two major political parties, according to a 2014 analysis by the Pew Research Center, compared to 32% Democrats and 23% Republicans. 

Millennial (18 to 33-year-old) voters are 48% Independents vs 28% Democrats or 18% Republicans. This growing number is especially true in Colorado, Arizona and Florida. Unfortunately, because Florida has CLOSED primary elections, it is also true that potential voters are being punished for not joining a political party at least 30 days before every primary election.

Read More: NPR, Feb. 28, 2016 

A huge influx of Puerto Rican voters is only compounding the problems associated with getting people to register with a party-affiliation or change their party affiliation 30 days before primary elections. Puerto Rican voters are not registered as members of the Democratic or Republican parties. They are used to voting independently for candidates represented by a dozen or more political parties.  

In 2014, there were more than 300,000 people from Puerto Rico living in Central Florida, with an estimated 100 families coming to Florida every week, due to the failed economy of Puerto Rico. 


BernieSanders campaigned for OPEN Primary elections in all 50 states in 2016. 

Florida, unfortunately is a CLOSED primary state, which means voters must register "Democrat" or "Republican" at least 30 days before the primary in order to vote for a candidate affiliated with the Democrats or Republicans... even though taxpayer money is used to pay for the elections, and third-party candidates have not stood a chance to win against the big-money politicians. 

Let's face it: The "Closed" primary system is what keeps the party-system in power instead of the people. But you can do something about this.


Right now, you can write a letter in support of putting a top-two open primary amendment on the 2018 Florida ballot. Send your support letter of 2,000 words or less to admin@flcrc.gov

An upcoming Central Florida public hearing, set for June 22, 2017, has been postponed to a future TBA date. - look for public hearings at:  http://flcrc.gov/
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