Thursday, October 18, 2018

Georgia County Orders Elderly Black Voters Off Bus Taking Them to Polls

Credit: Kayla Marshall

Dozens of Black Senior Citizens in Rural Georgia were ordered off a Bus bound for the Polls after County Officials said the Event constituted Prohibited “Political Activity.”

A Jefferson County Clerk reportedly told Staff Members from the Leisure Center in Louisville on Monday, the First day of In-Person Early Voting in Georgia, that roughly 40 Black People couldn’t take part in the Trip after receiving a Complaint from an Unnamed Caller.

The Trip had been Organized by the Nonpartisan Black Voters Matter, which is embarking on a Bus Tour across several Southern States with the Goal of urging Black People to Vote. The Caller said the Bus, which was painted with the words “The South is Rising Tour,” should not be allowed to bring People to the Polls.

Jefferson County Administrator Adam Brett said the Trip, set to Depart from a County-Run Senior Center, was Political and therefore Violated Guidelines imposed on County-Sponsored Events. Although Black Voters Matter is a Nonpartisan Organization, Jefferson County Democratic Party Chairwoman Diane Evans helped Organize the Event. Officials “felt uncomfortable with allowing senior center patrons to leave the facility in a bus with an unknown third party,” Brett said. “No seniors at the Jefferson County senior center were denied their right to vote.”

But Black Voters Matter Co-Founder LaTosha Brown pushed back on Brett’s reasoning for ending the Trip. “We knew it was an intimidation tactic,” Brown said. “It was really unnecessary. These are grown people.”

The hopeful Voters were initially told by the Senior Center’s Staffers that they could Ride in a County Van to Cast their Ballots but were then instructed to go inside for lunch and Vote another Day, according to Brown.

A Video posted to Black Voters Matter’s Twitter page shows the Senior Citizens dancing and cheering before Boarding the Bus. “What happened was a real issue,” Brown says in the video. “But it ain’t going to stop us. Can’t stop, won’t stop.”

Georgia is Home to one of the most Contentious Gubernatorial Races in the Country. Accusations of Voter Suppression have swirled as Democrat Stacey Abrams, Georgia’s First Black Female Nominee for Governor, faces off against the State’s Republican Secretary of State, Brian Kemp, who Runs the Election.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Electionline Weekly Oct-18-2018

Federal-State Updates

Maryland’s Two Democratic Sens Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, along with Maine’s Susan Collins (R) have introduced the Protect Our Elections Act which would require Companies that provide Election Services to Report any Foreign National who Owns or Controls their Firm to the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Election Assistance Commission, and State and Local Officials. It also would require Companies to provide Notice of any Material Change in Ownership or Control. The Bill establishes a $10,000 Fine for failing to do so.

Legislative Updates

Montana: By an 8-3 vote, the Missoula City Council voted to Expand the City’s Gun-Free Zones to include All Polling Places. Council Member Julie Merritt (6th Ward) proposed the Changes in September as both an Emergency Amendment and an update to an Existing City Ordinance after concerns were raised about Open and Concealed carrying of Weapons in Polling Places. Weapons aren’t allowed in Schools, where many Polling Places are. But there are also Voting Sites that are not School Based.

Ohio: The Franklin County Commission voted to Transfer $245,000 from the Board of Elections Budget to the County Commission’s Budget to spend it on Public Service Announcements promoting Early Voting. The Board of Elections had previously said they would Not Spend their Own funds on Early Voting Advertising.

Pennsylvania: The House State Government Committee held a Hearing this week to discuss ongoing Issues with the State’s Election system. In addition to Discussion about Russian Interference, the Committee also discussed the Possibility of Non-Citizen Voters.

Rep. Eric Roe (R-Chester, 158th District) has introduced Legislation that will allow Pennsylvania to offer Curbside Voting for Voters with Disabilities.

Legal Updates

Arkansas: In a 5-2 Decision the Arkansas Supreme Court has Upheld the State’s Voter ID Law. “In our view, providing a system of verifying that a person attempting to cast a ballot is registered to vote is relevant and pertinent, or has a close relationship, to an amendment establishing a system of voter registration,” the Court said.

Florida: Late last week U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle Turned Down the Democrats Request to Extend the State’s Voter Registration Deadline to October 16th for those affected by Hurricane Michael.

Georgia: Civil Rights groups have filed a Federal Lawsuit seeking to Overturn the State’s “Exact Match” Law which has Stalled approximately 53,000 Voter Registrations from being Processed. Two Lawsuits were filed in Federal Court this week against the Secretary of State’s Office and Gwinnett County over “Excessive Rejection” of Absentee Ballots. According to Analysis by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, so far Gwinnett has Rejected about 8.5% of Absentees while the State Average is 2%.

Guam: The Government of Guam argued before a Ninth Circuit Panel at the University of Hawaii that it is Not Unlawful to Limit Non-Native Residents from Voting on the Territory’s Future Political Ties with the United States.

Missouri: The Attorney General’s Office has filed an Appeal and an Emergency Stay to Cole County Circuit Court Judge Richard Callan’s Ruling last week that Overturned a Provision in the State’s Voter ID Law that Requires Voters who don’t have a Photo ID to Sign an Affidavit.

New Jersey: Lizaida Camis, 55, has been Indicted on One Count of using the Mail to Promote a Voter Fraud Scheme and One Count of Conspiracy to Use the Mail to Promote a Voter Bribery Scheme.

North Carolina: A Three-Judge Panel has ruled that Changes make to the State’s Board of Elections by the Legislature make the SBOE Unconstitutional. In their 2-1 ruling, the Judges did say that the Board of Elections is Allowed to continue its Work As-Is for now in light of the Upcoming Election.

Ohio: A Voting Rights group has asked the 6th U.S. Circuity Court of Appeals to Review a Lower Court’s ruling that concluded a Stopgap system to allow Purged Voters to Vote Provisionally was No Longer needed.

Pennsylvania: President Judge Russel Shurtleff has Denied a Petition to Combine Two Falls Township Polling Places into One.

Tennessee: U.S. District Judge Thomas Parker had Denied a Request for an Order requiring the Shelby County Election Commission to ask the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to perform Risk and Vulnerability Assessments on the County’s Electronic Voting System.

Texas: Leticia Sanchez, Leticia Sanchez Tepichin, Maria Solis, and Laura Parra have been Indicted on 30 Felony Counts of Voter Fraud including Stealing the Votes of Elderly Voters. A Statement from the Attorney General’s Office said the Defendants allegedly were Paid to Target Older Voters in a Scheme to Generate a Large Number of Mail Ballots and then Harvest those Ballots for Specific Candidates.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

NYC Civic Engagement Office has Bad Start

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer is demanding Answers from City Hall after a New Civic Engagement Office sent out Thousands of Letters telling Voters weeks before Election Day they had been Kicked Off Registration Rolls when they hadn't.

Nearly 400,000 People received Letters from Mayor Bill de Blasio's "Democracy NYC" Office, a Unit tasked with Increasing Civic Engagement among New Yorkers.

It is not yet clear who Approved the Message to Voters, which was Signed by "The City of New York" and included the Office's Logo.

Questions also remain about why the City used a Third-Party Vendor, Civis, to Obtain the List of Inactive Voters and not the Board of Elections, where they can get the Information Free of Charge.

The State Board of Elections is demanding Mayor Bill de Blasio’s new “Democracy NYC” Office provide Answers about a Botched Mailing to 400,000 City Voters, or face a Subpoena for the Information. In a letter fired off Wednesday to “Chief Democracy Officer” Ayirini Fonseca-Sabune, Election Board Co-Executive Directors Todd Valentine and Robert Brehm said the Data has to be Delivered by Noon Friday. They said their Office has received “a number of complaints from registered voters”, as has the New York City’s Elections Board, which reported getting 1,600 Calls about the Confusing Mailing from the City.

The Botched 'Inactive' Voter Mailer cost Taxpayers $200K.

City Officials have said Civis did indeed Pull Voting Data from the State Board of Elections but then “scrubbed” those Records to Create a more “accurate” List of “inactive” Voters.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Foreign Tech Company Overhauling LA County’s Voting Machines

During this time of heightened scrutiny to safeguard against Foreign Interference in U.S. Elections, the choice of a Foreign Technology company with a dubious past and strong ties to the Venezuelan Government to overhaul Los Angeles County’s Antiquated Voting System may seem odd.

But this June, on the heels of a Major Glitch during the California Primary involving 118,000 Missing Names on LA County Voter Rosters, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder, with the Unanimous Vote of the Board of Supervisors, awarded a $282 Million Contract to Smartmatic for the County’s New Vote Tally system.

By August, Smartmatic delivered Voting Solutions for All People (VSAP), and the Office of California’s Secretary of State Certified it for Elections after Testing for Functionality and Security.

Both LA County and Secretary of State Alex Padilla made much of the fact that Smartmatic had developed the Software for VSAP from Open Source Code, but that very fact and the stunningly quick turnaround time for the Multi-Million Dollar Contract may leave Taxpayers in the County wondering: How much of the Software in the Voting system Los Angeles just spent, was already available in the Public Domain, for Free? Did Los Angeles County just pay Smartmatic $282 Million to mostly Copy and Paste some Public Domain Code?

Smartmatic got its start with Grant Money and Contracts from the Chavist Venezuelan Government. After receiving Seed Funding to focus on Election Technologies from Jorge Massa Dustou, one of the richest Individuals in Venezuela, Three Venezuelan Software Engineers incorporated Smartmatic in Delaware and Bizta, Spanish for “Great”, in Venezuela, in April 2000. By 2003, the Software firm was struggling to make any Sales, and it was at that time that Bizta received a $150,000 Grant from the Venezuelan Government in exchange for a 28% Equity Stake in the company and a Seat on the Board. Part of the arrangement involved Smartmatic acquiring Bizta at that time.

One of Smartmatic’s Principles has stated that the Grant was a Loan, that has been Repaid in Full, and that the Venezuelan Government never sent a Representative to Board Meetings. The Loan was Repaid a month before Venezuela’s 2004 Elections after the Venezuelan Government’s close Ties to the Voting Systems company came under Public Scrutiny. Smartmatic Was Investigated in 2006 by The Intra-Agency Committee on Foreign Investment in The United States.

With $120 Million Dollars from Three different Contracts with the Venezuelan Government, Smartmatic rapidly expanded the following year, purchasing British-owned, Oakland, California-based Sequoia Voting Systems in 2005, which had Supplied Voting Machines in 17 States and the District of Columbia.

The Acquisition triggered a 2006 Investigation by the Intra-Agency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. to determine the Extent to which the Venezuelan Government was involved in Smartmatic’s Operations. Representatives of the Company and the Venezuelan Government vehemently Denied any Relationship outside of Contracting Smartmatic to provide Venezuela with Voting systems. Smartmatic Cooperated with the Investigation at first, stating that Public Transparency has always been its Policy, but before the Investigation could be Completed, Smartmatic sold Sequoia later that year without fully Disclosing Who is involved in the Ownership and Management of the Company.

Up until then, Smartmatic was Incorporated in Delaware and Headquartered in Florida, but after Selling Sequoia and shaking off the Federal Investigation, the company obscured its Corporate Structure in a complex web of Holding Companies in multiple Countries throughout the World.

In an Official Statement of its Perspective regarding the Ownership of Smartmatic, the U.S. Department of State says: “Smartmatic is a riddle. The company came out of nowhere to snatch a multi-million dollar contract in an electoral process that ultimately reaffirmed Chavez’s mandate and all but destroyed his political opposition. The perspective we have here, after several discussions with Smartmatic, is that the company is de facto Venezuelan and operated by Venezuelans. The identity of Smartmatic’s true owners remains a mystery. Our best guess is that there are probably several well-known Venezuelan businessmen backing the company and who prefer anonymity either because of their political affiliation, or perhaps, because they manage the interests of senior Venezuelan government officials. Smartmatic has claimed to be of US origin, but its true owners – probably elite Venezuelans of several political strains – remain hidden behind a web of holding companies in the Netherlands and Barbados.”

A 2014 Security Analysis by the University of Michigan, of an Online Voting system created by Smartmatic for Estonia, determined: “the I-voting system has serious architectural limitations and procedural gaps that potentially jeopardize the integrity of elections.” During the controversial 2016 Elections in the Philippines, Smartmatic engaged in controversial Practices leading to Criminal Indictments, such as funneling Voting Data from Machines through “several servers apart from those sanctioned by the Commission on Elections during the May 2016 elections.”

For the 2016 Utah Republican Caucus, in which Voters helped choose the Party’s Nominee for President, Smartmatic helped the State GOP implement an Online Voting system that was fraught with Technical Issues, Blocking some Residents from Voting. Smartmatic received Thousands of Calls during the Election from Utah Voters who had Technical Issues with their Software. A Researcher at one Technology Research firm said: “Several of us did a lightweight analysis of it remotely… we found that [Smartmatic was] using technologies that even modern Web programmers stay away from… It’s like the dumbest possible choices are being made by some of these companies with respect to deployed technology that should be mission-critical!”

The LA County Clerk/Recorder-Registrar is touting VSAP as “the first publicly owned, open source election tally system certified under the California voting systems standards.” Alex Padilla has also praised VSAP as Open-Source Technology: “With security on the minds of elections officials and the public, open-source technology has the potential to further modernize election administration, security, and transparency. Los Angeles County’s VSAP vote tally system is now California’s first certified election system to use open-source technology. This publicly-owned technology represents a significant step in the future of elections in California and across the country.”

Open Source Software is Computer Code that has been Released into the Public Domain for anyone to Read, Use, Rewrite, and/or Distribute Free of Charge. But VSAP isn’t really Open Source as the LA County Voter Registrar’s Press Release suggests. It was Created from Open Source Software, but the Final Result is Proprietary and Secret. That’s what Chris Jerdonek discovered when he made a Public Records Request to LA County for VSAP’s Source Code.

Jerdonek is a Software Developer with a PhD in Mathematics, and happens to be the San Francisco Elections Commissioner. He noted in the Request that: “The VSAP Tally Version 1.0 was identified and described in the following August 21, 2018 LA County press release as ‘the first publicly ­owned, open­ source election tally system certified under the California voting systems standards.'” But the County responded saying the Source Code is “exempt from disclosure,” because to do so “would create a potential security risk,” noting that “proprietary information” and “trade secrets” are Exempt from Disclosure under State and Federal Law.

In a Second Point under the Heading, “Information technology systems of a public agency,” LA County Exempted VSAP’s Source Code from Disclosure because Publishing it could “reveal vulnerabilities to attack or would otherwise increase the potential for an attack on the public agency’s information technology system.”

The Problem with this kind of Security, Security by Obscurity, is that it meets a Minimum Threshold for Cybersecurity. It’s a Leftover Vestige of Cold War Era thinking, and pins a Voting Software system’s Security on the hope that the Source Code can be kept Secret. But at a time when the Democratic Presidential Candidate and former Secretary of State’s Emails can be Apprehended by Foreign Hackers, it’s not a hope on which we can responsibly base the Integrity of U.S. Elections, or any Digital Enterprise.

A truly Secure Voting system would be Open Source. Not made from Open Source Software, as VSAP is, but Open Source itself, freely Available to the Public to View, Adapt, and Build on for Elections elsewhere, in America and in other Countries as well. It would be so definitely and immutably Secure, that Publishing the Source Code would not Endanger it in any way. Its Security would not be based on Secrecy, and the hope that no one is Hacking, or Leaking, or Acting out of any kind of Nefarious Motives, but rather based on an immutable Software Architecture designed with the certainty in mind that someone is Hacking, and Leaking, and Acting out of Nefarious Motives.

It would be Crypto-Graphically Secure and provide Voters with Anonymity at the same time, the way Bitcoin does, which is an Open Source Banking Protocol for which the Source Code is available to anyone to Download, Inspect, and Run on their Own Server. There would be nothing to Leak, because the Protocol would be designed from the start to be Open Source and available to the Public. A truly Open Source Ethos, not the misleading use of the words “Open Source” as Self-Congratulatory, Marketing Buzzwords, with these Priorities in mind, can certainly prevail in creating Secure Vote Tally systems that we can all Trust, and it’s just the kind of Challenge Developers in the Open Source Community Love to Solve.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

PA Semi-Closed Primary Bill

Pennsylvania Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R-Jefferson County 25th District), has introduced a Bill (SB1234) that would create a Semi-Closed Primary to all Unaffiliated Voters. This would put Pennsylvania in the Company of Nine other States that allow Unaffiliated Voters to Participate in the Party Primary of their Choice, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

"This bill is a bi-partisan piece of legislation introduced with the goal of giving over 740,000 registered unaffiliated Pennsylvania voters the right to participate in the primary election process," Scarnati said.

"Specifically, on the day of the primary election, it will allow these voters to choose to cast their vote on either the Republican or Democrat ballot. Voters who are registered with either the Republican or Democratic Party will continue to be required to vote on their respective ballots," he said.

Scarnati noted that a mere 18% of Registered Voters participated in this year's Gubernatorial Primary, which he attributed in part to "voters feeling disenfranchised by both major parties, who have taken control of our primary process." He added, "Allowing more people the opportunity to have a voice in their representation is an important step toward ensuring democracy."

Micah Sims, Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, couldn't agree more. His Organization, which has been Lobbying for this Change for years, has been working with another powerful Lawmaker, House Majority Leader Dave Reed (R-Indiana County 62nd District), on an Semi-Closed Primary Bill since Reed mentioned his interest in this Government Reform last Spring.

"It's good for democracy. It's great for turnout," Sims said. "Right now, taxpayer dollars are paying for primaries so why aren't all taxpayers allowed to participate in primaries?"

Sims was Unaware of Scarnati's Bill and Planned to Review it to see how it might compare to the one his Group has been Crafting with Reed. "We are only for the version that addresses the non-affiliated, independent, or third-party voters to choose from Democratic selections or Republican selections in the primary," Sims said.

Scarnati's Bill has been sent to the Senate State Government Committee for consideration and he indicated a hope it would be worked on this Fall.
Sims hopes that this proposed Change in State Law not only gets worked on but gets to the Governor's Desk for Enactment in time to be in place for next Spring's Primary on May 21st, 2019.

The Bill in the House is HB2448.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

DNC's Massive Cybersecurity Overhaul at Committee and Sister Organizations

When DNC Chairman Tom Perez was Campaigning for his current role, he said that one of his first Priorities would be to hire an In-House Cybersecurity Officer who would work “with all of our state partners,” explaining that while he was “confident we can fortify the front door and prevent breaches,” it was also “critically important all the windows are closed as well.”

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has spent 14 months Staffing Up with Tech Talent from Silicon Valley, Training Staff to Spot Suspicious Emails, and giving the FBI someone to talk to if it spots Signs of Hackers targeting the Party.

The first concrete sign of success may come in a few weeks, if the Democrats make it through the November Midterm Elections unscathed. But Raffi Krikorian, the DNC’s Chief Technology Officer, who arrived in late July 2017, is already pointing to one significant Accomplishment, a Massive Overhaul of Digital Security at the Committee and its Sister Organizations.

That would be a big leap from September 2015, when the FBI’s first attempt to Alert the Party to a suspected Russian Cyberattack reached a DNC IT Contractor who thought it was a prank. Such a Major flub would not happen now, said Krikorian, whose résumé includes Senior Roles at Uber and Twitter.

“It would be surprising if a week went by and I didn’t hear from one of the three-letter agencies in my inbox,” Krikorian said during an Interview at the Committee’s Headquarters. Representatives of the Bureau and other Federal Agencies have “been in our building to ask how they can help or what information we might be able to coordinate on in the future.”

Krikorian and his Team have been trying to instill that same mindset throughout the Party, including among Democratic Campaigns and State Parties. The Party’s entire Apparatus is “aware that security’s something they should be concerned about,” he said. “We’re actually moving up this curve at a fairly good clip.”

Still, the Party faces an enormous challenge in Recovering from the Damage inflicted by the Hacking of DNC Emails, Strategy Documents, and other Internal Records in 2016, which U.S. Intelligence Agencies have said was part of a Moscow-backed effort to help President Trump win the White House.

Officials including Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dan Coats have Warned that this year’s Midterm Elections remain a potential Russian Target, and some Democratic Senators have reported Malicious Email Attacks on their Offices this year, both Indications that the Threat from Foreign and Domestic Hackers has far from vanished.

The new focus on Security has led to some High-Profile misfires, too, including an August Mishap in which the DNC said it had thwarted an attempt to Hack into its Massive Voter Database, which it called “further proof that there are constant threats as we head into midterm elections.” Hours later, the Party announced that the Hack was just a Security Test by a State Party.

DNC Chief Security Officer Bob Lord said at the time that the real takeaway from the flub was how quickly the Massive Organization recognized its Mistake. “I don’t know that that would have happened two or three years ago,” he said. Lord, a former Yahoo and Twitter Security Executive, was one of Krikorian’s most significant hires. He worked closely with the FBI when it Investigated Two massive Data Breaches at Yahoo, and he is now one of the DNC’s Key Ambassadors to the Bureau.

But better Communication and Organizational Changes will go only so far in helping the DNC Defend itself and help the myriad Campaigns and Democratic Party Organizations that rely on its Leadership. Weaknesses in those other Organizations, outside Krikorian’s control, can also threaten the DNC. That happened in 2016, when Suspected Russian Hackers broke into the DNC’s Network using Credentials Stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief Technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, said he still has questions about how the DNC would deal with far-flung Threats to Democratic Candidates. One example would be a Barrage of crippling Internet Traffic Attacks that Shut down a Candidate’s Fundraising site at a key moment. “I would love to hear how confident they are that they can deal with particular threats and techniques,” Hall said. “What if they get hit by a ransomware attack locking up some or all of their devices on a specific campaign?”

Krikorian says he is doing everything he can to prepare the Organization for unexpected Cyberattacks, as well as the more common Threats that have already Hurt the Organization. He explained, his Team of 35 People launched regular Meetings, initially monthly and now every two weeks, with their Counterparts at the other Party Committees like the DCCC. The DNC also created an email List, Staffed by Three People on call around the clock, where Campaigns can Report cyber Incidents.

Krikorian’s Team regularly discusses emerging Threats with Experts at Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and other Tech firms. They Chat via the Encrypted Messaging apps Signal and Wickr with Cyber Experts from the DNC’s Sister Committees and Third-Party Vendors, discussing suspicious incidents and other information.

The DNC also works with Facebook and Twitter to ensure the Committee learns when Candidates Contact Social Media firms about possible Account Takeovers. “Not because we can necessarily do anything about it,” Krikorian said, “but just to help us get a bigger view of what’s going on nationwide.”

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker

Two Petitions for Constitutional Amendments to Change FL Primary Process

Though there is considerable interest in who the Next Governor of Florida will be, the fact is that more than Three Million People, a Quarter of All Registered Voters in the Sunshine State, were Banned from participating in the Aug. 28th Primary Election.

That’s because they’re a part of the fastest growing part of the Electorate, No-Party-Affiliated (NPAs) Voters, who are Independent of the Two Major Political Parties in Florida. Now, a Group wants to Change that.

Florida Fair and Open Primaries (FFAOP), launched Two Petitions for State Constitutional Amendments. One Petition seeks to introduce a Top-Two Open Primary; the second Prohibits Public Resources from being used for Closed Primary Elections.

“At issue is whether Florida citizens believe the fundamental right to vote should be extended to all registered voters,” Steve Hough, Director of FFAOP, said in a Statement. “As the vast majority of races are decided in a primary election, by a tiny fraction of the electorate, we believe they will agree.”

Florida is one of just Nine States in the Country with Closed Primaries, according to the National Conference on State Legislatures. Other States have some version of either a Semi-Open or Semi-Closed Primary, while 15 States have a pure Open Primary System, which means that Registered Voters can cast a Vote across Party Lines, or, if they are NPA, any Party Candidates.

In general, Members of the Republican and Democratic Parties in Florida have opposed such Proposals, claiming it offers the Opportunity for “mischief.”

Democrats for example, cite Rush Limbaugh’s “Operation Chaos” proposal back in 2008, where he urged Republican Voters in Open Primary States to Vote in the Democratic Party Presidential Primary that year between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“We believe voters should have been afforded the opportunity to determine the fate of an open primaries amendment,” FFAOP Director Steve Hough said.

The group must get 766,200 Verified Signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office by February 2020 in order to Qualify for the November 2020 Ballot.

As of July 2018, there were 3,472,688 Registered Voters in Florida who are not Affiliated with the Republican or Democratic Parties.

States Primary Process

Closed Primary States In general, a Voter seeking to Vote in a Closed Primary must first be a Registered Party Member. Typically, the Voter Affiliates with a Party on their Voter Registration Application. This system deters “Cross-Over” Voting by Members of other Parties. Independent or Unaffiliated Voters, by definition, are Excluded from participating in the Party Nomination Contests. This system generally contributes to a Strong Party Organization.

New Mexico
New York

Partially Closed States - In this system, State Law permits Political Parties to choose whether to allow Unaffiliated Voters or Voters not Registered with the Party to participate in their Nominating Contests before each Election Cycle. In this type of system, Parties may let in Unaffiliated Voters, while still excluding Members of opposing Parties. This system gives the Parties more Flexibility from year-to-year about which Voters to include. At the same time, it can create uncertainty about whether or not certain Voters can Participate in Party Primaries in a given year.

North Carolina
South Dakota

Partially Open States - This system Permits Voters to Cross Party Lines, but they must either Publicly Declare their Ballot choice or their Ballot Selection may be regarded as a Form of Registration with the corresponding Party. Iowa asks Voters to choose a Party on the state Voter Registration Form, yet it allows a Primary Voter to Publicly Change Party Affiliation for purposes of Voting on Primary Election Day. Some State Parties keep track of who Votes in their Primaries as a means to identify their Backers.


Semi-Closed States - A number of States allow only Unaffiliated Voters to participate in any Party Primary they choose, but do not allow Voters who are Registered with One Party to Vote in another Party’s Primary. This system differs from a true Open Primary because a Democrat cannot cross over and Vote in a Republican Party Primary, or vice versa. New Hampshire requires that Unaffiliated Voters Declare Affiliation with a Party at the Polls in order to Vote in that Party’s Primary. In Colorado, Unaffiliated Voters must Return just one Party’s Mail Ballot, or State which Party Ballot they want at the Polls. The choice is Public information, although it does not Change the Voter's Unaffiliated Status.
Open to Unaffiliated Voters Primary States

New Hampshire
New Jersey
Rhode Island
West Virginia

Open Primaries States - In general, but not always, States that do not ask Voters to choose Parties on the Voter Registration Form are “Open Primary” States. In an Open Primary, Voters may choose Privately in which Primary to Vote. In other words, Voters may choose which Party’s Ballot to Vote, but this decision is Private and does Not Register the Voter with that Party. This Permits a Voter to Cast a Vote across Party Lines for the Primary Election. Critics argue that the Open Primary Dilutes the Parties’ Ability to Nominate. Supporters say this system gives Voters Maximal Flexibility, allowing them to Cross Party Lines, and maintains their Privacy. But it does not allow the Voter to Pick any Candidate that want, only the Candidates picked by the Party.

North Dakota
South Carolina

Top-Two Primaries States - California, Louisiana, Nebraska (for State Elections), and Washington currently use a “Top-Two” Primary format. The “top two” format uses a Common Ballot, listing All Candidates on the same Ballot. In California and Louisiana, each Candidate Lists their Party Affiliation, whereas in Washington, each Candidate is Authorized to List a Party “Preference.” The Top-Two Vote getters in each Race, regardless of Party, Advance to the General Election. Advocates of the "Top-Two" format argue that it increases the likelihood of Moderate Candidates advancing to the General Election Ballot. Opponents maintain that it Reduces Voter Choice by making it possible that Two Candidates of the Same Party face off in the General Election. They also contend that it is tilted against Minor Parties who will face slim odds of earning one of only Two Spots on the General Election Ballot This is the only Primary method that allows the Voter to Pick their Candidates regardless of Party or Independednt. But I would make it a Top-Three, giving Minor Parties and Independents a better chance of getting on the General Election Ballot. I would also add Ranked-Choice Voting as the Selection Method.

Nebraska (Only for Nonpartisan Legislative Races)

Presidential Primary Rules - States may have radically different systems for how they conduct their State and Presidential Primaries: some States hold their State and Presidential Primaries on the same day, some hold them weeks or even months apart, and some hold the Two Primaries on the same day but have different Rules for each Primary.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker