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GOP and Dems United in Fight Against Open Primaries

October 14th, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

Democrats meeting in Orlando over the weekend officially came out against a proposed constitutional amendment known as All Voters Vote.

Republicans and Democrats here in Florida seldom agree on anything, but they have found something to oppose together.

During the 2018 Florida primary, there were five Democrats and two Republicans running for Governor.

Under All Voters vote, all seven would have faced off in August, with the top two vote getters advancing to November.

“It’s going to enable more voters to vote and have a say in the process, because in those closed party primaries, the winner only has to speak to a very small sliver, the extreme wings of their parties to get through the primary process,” said All Voters Vote Chair Glenn Burhans.

The Republican and Democrat parties are both opposing the amendment in the Supreme Court, as is the Attorney General Ashley Moody, who called it misleading.

Evan Power is the Republican Chair in the state’s capital.

“I think what we are going to do is throw everybody into a jungle primary, and then money will control who comes out of that jungle primary, and then you’ll end up with two Republicans or two Democrats, and then the other party is going to be even more upset about it,” said Powers.

But Democratic Strategist Steve Schale thinks the opposition is misguided arguing open primaries could give parties more incentive to reach out to independent voters.

“Yeah, again, first of all we need those folks to vote for us in November, so if we start talking to them in primaries, it helps the conversation along,” said Schale.

During the 2016 primary the top two vote getters were republicans, Putnam and DeSantis, but organizers dispute that’s they way it would have turned out if this amendment were in place.

“They’re forgetting 3.7 million non party affiliates that couldn’t have voted in those primaries,” said Burhans.

The amendment would apply only to elections for Governor, Cabinet and State Legislature.

California and Louisiana are the two states were all voters can vote in primaries.

Other states allow voters to choose which partisan primary they’d like to vote without becoming a member of those parties

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