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Voter groups look to open political primaries in Florida

By   /   August 26, 2013  /   News  /   6 Comments

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.

A no party affiliation group is look for support to its idea of open the primary elections in Florida

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



Marianela formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Since we’re trying to improve things, why not institute IRV as well? Instant Runoff Voting. This will completely eliminate the “Spoiler Effect”.

  • Prospector69

    I’ve gotten cynical over the last 40 years that I’ve been voting. Way to much fraud! In open primaries, you can bus in large numbers of opposing party voters to vote for the weakest candidate! I would welcome registered independents, with the proviso that they can only vote is one primary, not two or all three.

  • beckinista

    Absolutely NOT! What we need is an Unaffiliated Primary for those voters to select from a slate of Independent candidates. Way too much fraud goes on with open primaries. If you don’t believe it, just watch what happens with Lindsay Graham’s re-election bid in S.C.

  • dusanmal

    Disagree. Cross-voting would be a win for Progressive strategy of relativisation of everything. If you are not a part of any group, religious, sports, general association, political,… – you must not have any say in what that group does. It is not and can’t be yours to meddle in their decision system. This is equivalent of recent cases where Progressives demand members of different religions and atheists to be leaders of Christian groups in University setting. Absolute nonsense. If anything, states with cross-voting rules should be a target for repeal of such unfair rules. You want a vote about some group – please feel free to join and have a say.

    And if you are political candidate who is not R or D – create one on your own and use freedoms that we have to win by a strength of an argument. Not by meddling in the rights of others.

  • wishfulthinkn

    While I too am cynical about our process, the fact remains that too many voters and citizens are being disenfranchised. An open primary would be of benefit to all. Only registered voters should be allowed to vote regardless of party affiliation.

  • Richard Winger

    The people who are promoting top-two primaries aren’t watching to see how it has worked in the 3 states that have used them. California used it for the first time in 2012 and in the 31st US House district, a district with a 20% Demoratic registration edge, and which voted 57% for Obama in November and 59% for Dianne Feinstein (Democratic US Senate), the weird top-two system resulted in only two Republicans being on the November ballot. California took away write-in space on the November ballot, so a majority Democratic district was forced to elect a Republican to the US House. 23.1% of the voters who cast a ballot left their ballot blank for US House.