Congressman John Delaney

Representing the 6th District of Maryland
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Delaney Introduces Election Reform Bill

Aug 5, 2014
Press Release
Open Our Democracy Act creates open primaries, redistricting reform and makes Election Day a holiday

WASHINGTON - Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has filed election reform legislation so that Congress will more accurately reflect the interests of the American people. The Open Our Democracy Act (H.R. 5334) mandates open primary elections for the House of Representatives, begins the process for redistricting reform, and makes general Election Day a legal public holiday.  

“Congress is broken,” said Delaney. “The American people are frustrated because the common good of the country isn’t being served. An electoral system that rewards extreme partisanship, is warped by gerrymandering, and features low turnout elections produces a House of Representatives that doesn’t live up to its name. The Open Our Democracy Act addresses these problems by giving independents, moderates, and non-partisans a voice in our elections; beginning the process for national redistricting reform so that congressional districts are representative and making Election Day a holiday. In the end, that means better electoral choices, better districts, and more people voting; a hugely beneficial prescription for a healthier republic.   

“In addition to these structural changes, I believe lawmakers must do their part to change the culture in Washington. I’m a big believer in civility and bipartisanship, and have worked hard to find common ground with my colleagues in both parties. My constituents work with their colleagues every day and Congress should do the same.”


The Open Our Democracy Act:

  • Open primaries: Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected through a single open primary and a single general election. All candidates, regardless of party preference, compete on a single primary ballot, with all registered voters – regardless of party affiliation – eligible to vote. The two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes will appear on the general election ballot. Benefits: greater voice for independents, elections not dominated by partisan contests.
  • Redistricting reform: Directs the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing national standards for redistricting. Benefits: Congressional districts that truly represent local communities, less safe seats dominated by a single party and fewer members focused only on winning a partisan primary.
  • Making Election Day a holiday: General Election Day shall be a legal public holiday equivalent to a federal holiday. The legislation also expresses the sense of Congress that private employers should give employees time off to vote. Benefits: more participation in our elections.