1. Open, Partisan or Closed Primaries – The Quest to Fix Primary Elections BYUradio 54:05

Nearly a dozen states have active campaigns to move away from partisan or closed primaries, motivated by a frustration among many voters that the way parties choose nominees in high-stakes elections is broken. By the time most of us cast a ballot in a Presidential Primary, it feels like a pointless exercise: earlier states have already winnowed the field to a clear front-runner. No wonder turnout for primary elections is so low!

But here’s the thing: In 2020, the majority of Congressional and state legislative seats in the US were decided in the primary; because voting districts have been gerrymandered to favor one party so heavily, whoever wins that party’s primary sails to victory in the general. Why don’t more of us vote in primaries? Does weakening the power of political parties to control who runs and who votes in a primary election improve turnout and engagement?
In this episode of the Top of Mind podcast, we explore the origins of primary elections and variation between states. We speak with an incumbent politician who got “primaried” by a more extreme challenger; and a moderate candidate who’s struggled to win in a closed primary system. Then we talk to an activist for open primaries and ranked-choice voting to learn the limits of primary elections reform.

Podcast Guests:
Doug Goodman, founder of Nevadans for Election Reform

Rob Boatright, professor of political science at Clark University

Nick Bain, former member of the Mississippi State House of Representative

Becky Edwards, former Utah state legislator and founder of Governing Group PAC

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