Jimenez’ Bill to Make Elections More Voter Friendly

 State Representative Sara Wojcicki Jimenez is pushing legislation to open up the primary process. Rep. Jimenez has introduced House Bill 3655 which would include all primary election candidates on a single ballot, ending the current multiple-ballot system that requires voters to publicly declare which political party they support.

“As voters, we are guaranteed that our vote is confidential, but having to declare our political party preference in order to receive a primary ballot may actually discourage some from voting at all,” Representative Jimenez said. “Many residents in Sangamon County have talked to me about their concerns about declaring their party.  Opening up the process will protect privacy, and it will also provide voters with a wider range of options on their primary ballot.”

Under Rep. Jimenez’s legislation, all eligible primary election candidates will appear on a  single ballot, allowing voters to keep their party preference confidential, and also allowing them to vote for candidates of different parties for different offices if they so choose. The top two vote-getters for each office will advance to the General Election, regardless of party. Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray acknowledges that a switch to an open primary election system would ease voter concerns about a public declaration of party affiliation.

“The most common complaint the Sangamon County Election Office receives during a partisan Primary is the requirement that voters must declare their political party affiliation to cast a ballot,” said Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray. “I commend Representative Jimenez for introducing a solution that could protect the anonymity of a voter’s political party affiliation while still accomplishing our most important democratic process of voting.”

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures’ report in 2016, many states operate some version of an “open” primary system, where voters’ party preferences may remain confidential. Four states; California, Louisiana, Nebraska and Washington operate a single ballot system in which the top two vote-getters advance, as is proposed in Rep. Jimenez’s legislation.

House Bill 3655 is currently assigned to the Elections and Campaign Finance Committee.
If you are interested in having this bill receive a committee hearing and discussion, click here to sign the petition.

No comments :