Delaney Introduces Bill to End Gerrymandering, Reform Elections

Jun 21, 2017
Press Release
Open Our Democracy Act creates independent commissions for congressional redistricting, makes Election Day a holiday, institutes open top-two primaries

WASHINGTON – Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) has filed legislation to end gerrymandering and reform elections. Congressman Delaney’s Open Our Democracy Act requires that states establish independent commissions for congressional redistricting; makes Election Day a holiday; and institutes open top-two primaries for House and Senate elections, allowing all voters, including registered Independents and unaffiliated voters to participate in primaries.

“The Open Our Democracy Act has a very simple goal – to make the House of Representatives truly representative,” said Congressman Delaney. “Gerrymandering, low voter turnout and a broken primary system have warped Congress and encouraged extreme partisanship that is hurting the country and blocking smart legislation. Right now, in too many districts, the only election that matters is the party primary and that means a small and disproportionately partisan percentage of the population has an outsized influence on Congress. The American people are deeply frustrated because they can see that Congress just doesn’t reflect the country’s priorities. The Open Our Democracy Act ends partisan gerrymandering nationwide, helps more people vote by making Election Day a holiday and creates open top-two primaries. This is a comprehensive reform bill to ensure that the districts are fair and that all voters are heard.”

Delaney also introduced the Open Our Democracy Act in the 113th and 114th Congress.

 

The Open Our Democracy Act

 

  • Requires States Use Independent Commissions for Congressional Redistricting:
    • Each commission is prohibited from using partisan or political considerations in developing the State’s redistricting plan and
    • No political party in the State can have control over the commission.
  • Makes Election Day a Federal Holiday
    • The Open Our Democracy Act establishes that Election Day should be treated as a federal public holiday.
  • Creates Open and Top-Two Primaries for House and Senate Elections
    • Under the Open Our Democracy Act, House and Senate elections would use open primaries allowing Independents and non-affiliated voters to participate in primaries.
    • Under this system, which is also known as a top-two primary, all candidates regardless of party appear on a single primary ballot, which is open to all voters. The top two candidates from the primary then advance to the general election.
    • According to Gallup, 39% of Americans identify as independent.   

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