Position of LWVFL on Open Primaries. At the 2015 League Convention, the majority of delegates decided to study the issue of whether or not Florida’s closed primary system was a hindrance to voter participation in the primaries in Florida, which averaged only 23% as compared to a national average of 37% (League study results).
Voter registration polls indicated that over 3.4 million No Party Affiliation Voters and Minor Party voters were being excluded from voting in primaries. The vast majority of the NPA voters were millennials. Open Primaries also provide access to a broadest slate of candidates that would increase voter participation (Study and Action 2017-19, page 37).
The following position was approved by the 2017 League Convention: Recommend statewide use of an Open Primary system that would allow for the broadest possible voter participation, including No Party Affiliation and Minor Party affiliated voters.
Recommended League ACTION on Open Primaries. There have been various attempts to have a citizen initiative on Open Primaries for Florida. All Voters Vote is organizing a petition drive in Florida for state offices (Governor, Cabinet and State Senators and Representatives). The League is sending copies of this petition to local League Presidents, so that local Leagues will not have to cover the printing expense. This petition is also available here.
Ann Hellmuth and Brenda Alston, members of the LWVFL study team, will assist in answering any questions from League members and in recording the number of petitions collected by League members.
Recently approved legislation requires submission of a citizen initiative petition to the appropriate Supervisor of Elections within 30 days of collecting the signature. The final deadline for Open Primaries petition submission to the state is February 1, 2020; however, all petitions must be turned in at least one month before that date to ensure time for signature verification.
All Voters Vote will collect all signed petitions and send each of them to the appropriate Supervisor of Elections. League members must send their signed petitions as soon as possible to this address:
All Voters Vote, Inc., PO Box 652, Tallahassee, Florida 32302
League members should email Ann Hellmuth (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Brenda Alston (email@example.com) the number of petitions sent to All Voters Vote and for any questions relating to the petitions.
All other questions regarding LWVFL’s policy on Open Primaries should go to Michele Levy (firstname.lastname@example.org)