RECOMMENDED READING ON OPEN PRIMARIES:
But the quantitative success of independent candidates is still minimal, while the obstacles remain high. Even if they can win over voters and donors, independent candidates face huge institutional hurdles. Most states don’t have open primaries, in which the top vote-getters advance to a general election regardless of party. Instead, primaries are open only to voters registered in one of the two major parties, while independent candidates have to clear often-insurmountable barriers to get on the ballot. Runoffs are another issue in most states. As the system is set up now, a voter who doesn’t pick a Democrat or Republican risks essentially throwing away a vote for a distant third-place finisher….
...An instant runoff system essentially offers insurance. A voter could choose an independent first; if no candidate passed the 50 percent threshold, the last-place finisher would be dropped, and a voter’s second choice would count, alleviating the fear that one’s vote would be wasted. California’s Proposition 14, passed in 2010, creates a single primary from which the top two vote-getters go on to the general election. It’s a big step in the right direction, says Anderson, who hopes it will encourage others states to pass similar reforms.
(From Did Joe Lieberman Screw Independents by David A. Graham, The Daily Beast) SEE BELOW