By Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
MIAMI — Florida Independent Voting.Org wants to change the way political party primaries are conducted in the Sunshine State.
Florida and 18 other states have closed primary. That means only people registered with a political party may cast ballots in primary elections, where party candidates are chosen for the general election. But FIV says that locks out 40 percent of voters from the primary process.
The group is promoting its ‘Top 2 Open Primaries’ that seeks to “put the power back into the hands of voters instead of political parties.”
Here’s how it would work: All candidates for an elected office would appear on one primary ballot. Voters would choose their favorite, regardless of party affiliation, and the top two vote-getters would move on to the general election.
“This gives you, the voter, a voice in who runs in the general election” Ray Hudkins, president of FIV, said during an interview with Florida Watchdog.
And with 2.6 million unaffiliated registered voters in Florida, that’s a lot of voice.
The group is seeking the support of Congress for its proposal and hopes to have it included in the upcoming November 2014 elections.
The move toward including unaffiliated voters in open primaries has been slowly but steadily gaining popularity since 2008, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in Washington State. Open primaries also were adopted by California and Louisiana.
FIV isn’t the only group seeking open primaries. OpenOurElections.com a political action committee based in Sarasota, is working to open primaries at the local level.
“We are a local group of Republicans, Democrats, Independents and others who have come together to open our elections to all Sarasota County voters,” the group said on its website.
Contact Marianela Toledo at Marianela.Toledo@FloridaWatchdog.org twitter @mtoledoreporter