While just a few years ago, hardly anyone even knew what open primaries were, today, tens of thousands of independents have had the experience of trying to vote for the presidential candidate of their choice, only to be turned away at the polls. Many others, particularly millennials, faced draconian voter registration laws and were unable to vote.
It’s clear we’re seeing a shift in the country. It’s becoming apparent to so many that something is deeply wrong with our political system. During the last primary cycle, the impact of our political process on our ability to have meaningful conversation has become a recurring theme from state to state.
In 2015, Congressman John Delaney [MD – 6] the “Open our Democracy Act of 2015”, HR. 2655. This bill does three things: it calls for top two non-partisan open primaries for all US House and US Senate chairs; creates a roadmap to a national redistricting plan so partisan gerrymandering could be halted and, finally, makes Election day a federal holiday. In essence, HR. 2655 is a corruption busting package of reforms that serve as first steps to cleaning up the partisanship that is polluting our democracy.
Close to 50,000 letters have been sent to members of Congress asking them to become a co-sponsor of HR 2655.
To date, four members of Congress joined as co-sponsored HR 2655: Rep. Polis, Jared of Colorado, Rep. Scott Peters of CA, Rep. Derek Kilmer of WA and most recently, thanks to the efforts of local independents who lobbied for his support, Rep. John Yarmuth of KY.
Most Americans now recognize that the impetus for change is not going to come from Washington. They are part and parcel of the system we are trying to change. It is hard for them to reject the system that has helped them create their careers.
If we can create even more momentum for bills like HR 2655, we can force these structural issues into the national conversation. The efforts of independents shows that there is a strong and fervent movement around the country to fix what’s structurally wrong with our political process and make our democracy work for everyone.