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March 2024 Updates



SXSW, “The Primary Solution,” & So Much More Good Work for All Voters!


From Texas to Washington DC to Idaho and Montana, the Reform Movement is on the march! Of course, we don’t hear much about ongoing reform efforts – 8+ states with ballot amendments, this year, and at least two states considering bi-partisan legislation – in the mainstream media.  The politics industry is humming right along, making millions from the same old tired tactics:  hyperbolic fear mongering and divisive, extreme partisan rhetoric.  What else should we expect from a system that rewards gaslighting and grandstanding?

 

Here’s the good news: veterans and reform supporters from across the country, and across the political spectrum, are banding together to implement powerful and practical solutions to our country’s primary political problem – partisan primary elections.  Please see some outstanding highlights below, and learn more about the fast-growing, nonpartisan reform movement!


Some news from our friends at Unite America


Not Invited to the Party Primary: Independent Voters and the Problem with Closed Primaries

 

In 2024, 22 states will hold closed presidential primaries or caucuses, denying over 27 million voters not registered with a major party the right to participate fully in our democracy. A new report from the Unite America Institute sheds light on these voters who we call “Excluded Independents”. 




The Primary Solution: Rescuing our democracy from the fringes by Nick Troiano


As America heads into another critical election year, The Primary Solution offers voters across the political spectrum a realistic roadmap to a more representative and functional democracy.




VAV had the chance to interview Unite America's Executive Director Nick Troiano about his new book: The Primary Solution: Rescuing Our Democracy From The Fringes.  Unite America, under Nick's leadership, has really shaped the election reform movement and highlighted the deleterious role that partisan primaries have played in stoking dysfunction and division. You can watch our conversation above.




During SXSW, Veterans for All Voters hosted a meet-up and happy hour for veterans and independent voters at the Punch Bowl Social in Austin. This meetup included our Board Chair and Army Veteran Yinka Faleti as well as our Founder, Eric Bronner and numerous reform partners, including the host of the Independent Americans podcast, Army veteran, Paul Rieckhoff. Thanks to our VAV Texas State Leaders, including: Lauren Postler, Sam Panday and Ryan Lilley, for organizing this great event!




News from the States


Washington D.C.



Veterans for DC Voters leader and the Proposer for Petition 83 (for semi-open primaries and ranked-choice voting), Lisa D. T. Rice was featured in The Hill for her work fighting to open DC’s primaries to all voters




Make All Votes Count DC is starting the process of letting DC residents vote on whether to make all votes count in DC. This initiative, if they get on the ballot and neighbors vote to approve it, would implement ranked choice voting and end voter disenfranchisement for nearly 71,000 independent voters in DC



New York



New York Newsday ran a piece by OP SVP Jeremy Gruber entitled Stop New York’s War on Independent Voters




Op-ed | Why this Brooklyn veteran supports electronic absentee voting for New York - Veterans for New York Voters State Leader, Michael Matos

 

As a military veteran from Bay Ridge who served in the U.S Coast Guard as a Maritime First Responder, I’ve witnessed firsthand the sacrifices made to protect the democratic principles that define our nation. One crucial aspect of preserving our democracy is ensuring fair and accessible elections.



Virginia



Veterans for Virginia Voters leader Mike Cantwell submitted testimony and helped spearhead a successful effort to DEFEAT two closed primary bills in Virginia in committee! 

 

Thanks to these efforts, independent voters in Virginia can still participate in either party’s primary election.  The successful coalition was led by our friends and partners at OpenPrimaries.org, along with support from incredible in-state partners, including: Steve Richardson of Independent Virginians, NAACP, the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Forward Party, and the ACLU.


Reform news from around the country




Steve Rattner: Why Independent voters are on the rise

Morning Joe economic analyst Steve Rattner joins Morning Joe to chart the rise of polarization, political independents, and the increasing importance of primaries.




Ranked choice voting ban would be a slap in the face to Oklahoma military members - The Oklahoman: Jeff DeGarmo, Guest columnist

 

Our military members make giant sacrifices in defense of our most American right — the right to vote. Yet for active-duty service members and their families, exercising that right themselves can be a nightmare.




To Be Truly Open, More Reform Is Needed to Maine Primaries - Independent Voter News

 

Next year, Maine will hold its first open primary election. Every Maine voter — including the 32 percent registered as unaffiliated — will be able to vote. It’s a critical step forward.  

But we also have to ensure that the vote of every citizen is meaningful. That process moved forward with the adoption of ranked-choice voting and is continuing with a drive to diminish the power of money in politics. We believe it now demands a move from partisan to nonpartisan primaries.





A Sutherland Institute: Majority of likely voters in Utah want the option of ranked choice voting, new Sutherland survey finds

 

Highlights from the survey: 

  • 60% of Utah’s likely voters think that ranked choice voting should remain as an option for local elections. 

  • 51% of Utah’s likely voters are strongly or somewhat interested in using a ranked choice ballot for their own city or town elections.

  • Approval for ranked choice voting among Utah likely voters improves in every election category if the voter has past experience with ranked choice voting.




Content from Open Primaries Newsletter



President of Open Primaries, John Opdyke, joins The Shields Report to discuss primary voting and the myths surrounding it. How did it begin? What was the original intent of primary voting? Is it actually illegal to crossover vote in Tennessee? John is a wealth of knowledge and walks through the necessary details regarding primaries



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