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Florida needs open primaries

September 5, 2018
North Fort Myers Neighbor

To the editor:

Florida needs Open Primaries. An effort was made to add a referendum to the 2018 election ballot to establish "Open Primaries" in Florida. Unfortunately, the current Constitutional Revision Commission failed to approve the measure. So we are at it again for the 2020 election cycle.

Currently, Florida is one of only 14 states that have closed primaries. In closed primaries, the parties hold independent elections for their party's candidates. Only registered Republican or Democratic voters may participate in their respective balloting. Independents are not allowed to voice their selections, although Independent registered voters make up almost 30 percent of the voting public.

In "Open Primaries," all candidates are placed on a single ballot in the Primary. The candidates can be identified by their party affiliation, but all are included. And Independent voters get to be included in the final ballot choices. Generally, the top two vote getters in the Primary for each office are included in the final election.

There is a group currently working to gain the necessary petition signatures to get the proposal on the 2020 ballot. Everyone should agree that all Floridians, regardless of their party affiliation, or lack thereof, should be allowed to participate in the primary election process. So the first petition seeks to establish open primaries. The second petition is considered only if the first fails to get enacted. Since primaries in Florida are publicly funded, but nearly 30 percent of the public cannot participate, the second petition says if the open Primaries fails, then public funds may not be used to fund the primaries.

I urge everyone to go to FloridaFairAndOpenPrimaries.org and get involved. Go to the "Petitions" tab and read over the petitions there. If you agree, print them out, sign and send them in. We need your help to bring Florida into line with most other states. And if you agree with this effort, we ask your help to make it happen. This is a totally volunteer effort, so please sign the petitions and ask all of your friends and contacts to do the same. And if so inclined, please volunteer or donate to support this cause. We need your help.

Jon Hale

Cape Coral

 
 

 

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