Strategy

Open Primaries

Letting all voters vote. Period. How do you make sure politicians listen to all of their constituents? Simple: by giving all of their constituents a voice in their election through open and nonpartisan primaries.

The Problem

The hard truth: the majority of general elections aren’t competitive anymore.

Gerrymandering and partisan self-sorting have created "safe seats," in which the winner of the primary is all but guaranteed to win the general.

In other words, the primary election is the only election that matters. Yet these taxpayer-funded primaries currently lock out more than 11 million individuals from voting, and as a result, encourage only the most partisan, more extreme partisan voters to participate.

With primary turnout below 20%, the outcome is elections where only the most partisan and dogmatic candidates can win. 

Let the People Vote

Why it matters

Closed primaries are a form of voter suppression.

Party primaries are a driving reason why elected representatives refuse to work across the aisle, as they fear getting "primaried” by someone to their ideological extreme in the next election. By at least allowing independent voters to participate in these elections — and ideally replacing partisan primaries with nonpartisan primaries — we can improve the incentives representatives have to represent all of the voters. 

16 states have fully open primaries

3 states have nonpartisan primaries

10 states bar unaffiliated voters from the entire primary process

For more details about your state's primary process, visit our partners at OpenPrimaries

News

Read more about Open Primaries

Our Partners

Unite America is proud to work with our partner organizations to enact Open Primaries.

View All