Voters are begging for a revival of the open primary system in Alaska. (And -- strangely -- Ballot Access News's Rich Winger parses the impact of this on candidates. Maybe Winger thinks voters don't exist?) Open primaries are important for independent voters across the ideological spectrum, and particularly to the progressive wing of the independent movement. As Jackie Sailt pointed out on Friday night in Harlem at Lenora Fulani's "Interview With a Black Independent", so-called Tea Party candidates won in closed-primary states.
Hankster readers might be interested in this language from the decision of U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour who recently upheld Top Two against a further challenge by Washington’s political parties.
h/t to Harry Kresky:
“The political parties also argue that I-872 [the Top Two initiative] has harmed them because some of their official nominees have not advanced past the primary election to the general election. (Dkt No. 257 at 11–14.) The Democratic Party complains, for example, that in one particular race its official nominee lost the primary election because “the Democratic Party was forced by the State’s implementation of the Top Two [system] to have three other ‘Democratic candidates’ on the [primary] ballot” alongside the Democratic Party’s chosen nominee. (Dkt. No. 257 at 13.) The argument misses the point: “Whether parties nominate their own candidates outside the state-run primary is simply irrelevant. In fact, parties may now nominate candidates by whatever mechanism they choose because I-872 repealed Washington’s prior regulations governing party nominations.” Wash. State Grange, 552 U.S. at 453. The primary ballot did not include “three other Democratic candidates.” It included four candidates who stated a preference for the Democratic Party, one of whom the Democratic Party officially endorsed. “The First Amendment does not give political parties a right to have their nominees designated as such on the ballot,” id. at 453 n.7, and the political parties are not entitled as a matter of law to have their nominated candidates appear on the general-election ballot. I-872 did not prevent the Democratic Party’s nominee from advancing to the general election; the voters did. The political parties may not admire Washington’s new election system in which their designated candidates do not always advance to the general election, but that disappointment does not raise constitutional concerns.”
And now for more news headlines:
- Closed party primary would end under Gruenberg bill - OPEN SYSTEM: Top 2 vote getters would move on to general election. (By BECKY BOHRER, The Associated Press, Anchorage Daily News) Rep. Max Gruenberg, D-Anchorage, said that for years he has had people stop and "beg" him to revive an open-primary system, in which voters can choose any candidate for legislative or executive branch offices regardless of party affiliation.
- Alaska Bill for a Top-Two Primary (Ballot Access News) [For Winger, it's all about the candidates -ed.]
- State Senate elections may be settled in first round of balloting (By Jean Merl, Los Angeles Times) Charness said he is affiliated with the "coffee party," a group formed to counter the conservative "tea party" organizations. The group is not recognized by the state, so he was stuck with the no-party label. Peace and Freedom party members Jan B. Tucker of Torrance and Carl Iannalfo of Littlerock, in the Antelope Valley, contend that the "chaos" caused by the new system prevented them from collecting enough signatures to get on the ballots in their respective districts.
Bill would do away with closed party primary (By Becky Bohrer, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, Juneau Empire) Gruenberg said the existing system has “put the nominating process for Republicans in the hands of a small group” and led to the nomination of less centrist, more conservative candidates. He cites as a glaring example of this the selection of Joe Miller as the GOP nominee over incumbent U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who then mounted an outsider write-in bid to win back her job.
- What We Learned: Top 10 Political Lessons for 2011 (By Solomon Kleinsmith, WNYC/It's a Free Blog) IndependendentVoting.org does some great work in other areas, but their hypocrisy on this issue has been disturbing to many of us who watch developments in election law across the country. They should pull the wool from their eyes and see how much truely open primaries have helped their close ally (who they literally share an office with), the Independence Party of New York. If they do not, they will be seen as just another partisan group that will use their power to game the system to their advantage, rather than work to make it more open.
- Panelist drops out of Calif. redistricting board (San Francisco Chronicle) Under the law voters approved in 2008, the commission must consist of five Democrats, five Republicans and four independent or minor-party voters.
- Marist poll: Most voters say Obama will improve performance (Poughkeepsie Journal) "I think he's doing the best he can." A majority of independent voters — 55 percent — and even a plurality of Republican voters — 41 percent — think the president will make greater strides in his performance during the next two years than he has in the past two.
- Obama improves standing vs '12 rivals (By: CNN Political Coverage Manager Steve Brusk, CNN Political Ticker) The poll indicates Obama leads the potential GOP challengers among independent voters, by 10 points over Romney, 5 over Huckabee, and 28 over Palin.
- Michael Steele out as Republican Party picks a new leader. Reince Priebus, the Wisconsin Republican chairman, will take over the helm of the national committee. (By Paul West, Washington Bureau, LA Times) Some saw his election as a signal that Republicans wanted to change their image and broaden the party's appeal to independent voters.
- Gov. Barbour: No Decision on Presidential Run Until Spring (By Naftali Bendavid, Wall Street Journal/Washington Wire) Many Republicans are looking for someone who can appeal both to tea party activists and independent voters, and some believe Mr. Barbour fits the bill.
- California GOP's immigration problem (By MARTIN WISCKOL, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER) Ramirez says the new open primary should help GOP candidates who are more sympathetic to Latinos. The new system will allow voters to cross party lines in primary voting, and advances the top-two vote getters regardless of party affiliation. “The open primary certainly allows for less conservative, more moderate candidates,” Ramirez said. “It will mitigate, to some extent, the need to appeal to anti-immigration voters.”
- ‘the demons inside our our party’ (By Azi Paybarah, WNCY/The Empire) State Senator Diane Savino’s comments about defecting from the Democratic Caucus are worth checking out. "We’re never going to regain the trust of the voters unless we confront the demons inside our party,”
- Weathering The Storm: After three months of hard knocks, Bloomberg plots his comeback (By Edward-Isaac Dovere, City Hall)
- How oversight can help us get the most out of school reform (Kwame R. Brown Washington, Washington Post)