Two days into 2014 and our Leagues (Cleveland Area, Cuyahoga Area and Shaker Heights) are already stirring up national waves. As LWVUS undertakes its grass roots, biennial National Program Planning process in January and February, we hope to persuade local and state Leagues across the U.S. to consider a new study we are calling APP, or Alternatives to Partisan Primaries — an initiative readied last fall and finally announced via a mass email from this web address on January 2.
Alleged effects of partisan primaries – low turnout, mainly by each party’s activist base, and uncompetitive general elections – may point to another key obstacle to League’s mission of making democracy work. We’ve been combating gerrymandering, campaign finance abuse, and voter suppression laws for years. At the local, county, and state level, Leagues have had to remain silent as charter review commissions, local ballot issues, etc., consider and implement switches to nonpartisan primary elections. Leagues should be leading or at least shaping this movement with facts.
A 300-word statement of SCOPE (PDF below) accompanies the email to all Leagues, outlining what we believe such a study should entail:
— Classify examples of primary systems from federal to municipal primaries;
— Gather turnout and other information describing the nomination procedures from state election laws, constitutions and local government charters;
— Compare current primary systems to newly proposed variants now in public discussion; and
— Formulate principles about primary systems that would likely increase turnout, result in more competitive general elections, and possibly lessen political polarization.
Who would like to take part in this study? If LWVUS Convention adopts it, June 6-11 in Dallas, we’ll need a virtual National committee to start running down the facts. To learn more or to enlist please contact us at: