Open Connecticut’s Closed, Partisan Primaries to Unaffiliated Voters: All Connecticut taxpayers foot the bill for the primary elections held by the two major parties. And the Republican and Democratic parties in the majority of states allow unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary of their choice. Yet, in Connecticut, both parties deliberately shut unaffiliated voters (41% of the electorate!) out of their elections. This puts Connecticut in the minority of states and amounts to “taxation without representation” for nearly half the voting public. The blanket exclusion of unaffiliated voters by the two major parties in Connecticut can be fixed with the stroke of a pen by the parties themselves. Both parties should change their party rules and stop suppressing the vote of 41% of the voting public in elections financed by the public.
Move to a Single Non-Partisan, Public Primary: Persuading the two parties to open their private primaries to unaffiliated voters is certainly a step in the right direction. But it is not enough. In place of the current system of publicly funded private primaries controlled by the political parties, we believe that Connecticut should join California, Washington, and Louisiana in spending public money only on a single, public, non-partisan primary — one that is open to all voters regardless of party with candidates from all parties (or no party) running against each other in the same public primary. Ideally, the single, non-partisan, public primary would allow the top four or five candidates to advance to the general election where the winner would be chosen using Instant Run-Off or Ranked Choice Voting. In all events, a single, non-partisan public primary will result in more choice and more voice and should produce less extreme candidates and less partisanship in our politics. Learn more from our friends at Unite America here, about the benefits of non-partisan public primaries and why so many are advocating for them across the nation.