Congressman John Delaney

Representing the 6th District of Maryland
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Delaney Files Election Reform Bill to Tackle Gerrymandering, Help More Americans Vote

Jun 4, 2015
Press Release
Open Our Democracy Act allows Independents to vote in primaries, begins redistricting reform, makes Election Day a holiday

WASHINGTON – To combat gerrymandering and make congressional elections more representative Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has re-introduced the Open Our Democracy Act. Delaney’s election reform legislation has three components: 1) it institutes open primaries for House and Senate elections, allowing all voters including those registered as Independents or unaffiliated to participate, 2) creates a path for redistricting reform and the nationwide use of independent redistricting commissions, and 3) makes Election Day a holiday.    

“The Congress that works best for America is the Congress that best reflects America,” said Congressman Delaney. “Warped districts dominated by one party and unnecessary roadblocks to voting for working families have meant that the voice of the people has not been fully heard. The Open Our Democracy Act puts us on a path towards national redistricting reform, allows all registered voters, including independents, to vote in congressional primaries and will make it easier for working Americans to cast their ballot. I want the House of Representatives to be truly representative, representative of our diversity, representative of our communities, and representative of the national interest.”  

Rep. Jared Polis (CO-2) and Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) are original cosponsors of the legislation. Delaney first introduced the Open Our Democracy Act in 2014 during the 113th Congress.

The Open Our Democracy Act:

  • Open Primaries: the Open Our Democracy Act would establish open primaries for all House and Senate elections. Under this system, which is also known as top-two primaries, all candidates regardless of party appear on a single primary ballot, which is open to all voters. The top two vote getters then advance to the general election.
  • Makes Election Day a Holiday: the Open Our Democracy Act establishes that Election Day should be treated as a federal public holiday.
  • Redistricting Reform: the Open Our Democracy Act directs the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of existing redistricting procedures on the representation of minority and community interests in Congress. The GAO produces legislative recommendations for requiring all states to conduct congressional redistricting via independent commissions. The legislation also creates a path for subsequent legislation with the GAO’s recommendations to be considered by the Judicial Committee and on the House floor. Should a Member introduce GAO’s recommendations, the Judiciary Committee would have sixty days to report the legislation before any Member would have the privilege of bringing the bill to the House floor for a Yes/No vote.