'Freedom To Vote For The Person They Want': Group Works To Change Oklahoma To Open Primary System

Two election experts, Jeremy Gruber with Open Primaries and Margaret Kobos with Oklahoma United, joined News on 6 to discuss the push for open primary elections and what that would mean for voters.

Sunday, January 21st 2024, 8:57 am

By: News On 6


Election season is well underway in several states and Oklahoma primary elections are coming up in March. Here in Oklahoma, we have partially closed primaries. Two election experts, Jeremy Gruber with Open Primaries and Margaret Kobos with Oklahoma United, joined News on 6 to discuss the push for open primary elections and what that would mean for voters.

Oklahoma’s partially closed primary means that the democratic party allows people registered as independent to vote in their elections, but the republican party only allows people registered as republican.

“Oklahoma is one of only 14 states that have closed primaries, which means independent voters can't vote in primary elections,” Gruber said. “Around the country, independents are the largest group of voters now in the country. Just this week, Gallup came out with their polling that found 43 percent of voters are independent and that's happening right here in Oklahoma. Twenty percent of Oklahoma voters are independent. It's the fastest growing group of voters in the state. They can't vote in primary elections, the elections that matter.”

Oklahoma United is a non-partisan organization that is working to change our partially closed primaries to open primaries.

“We're seeking reforms and answers to a system that is not serving everybody[...] The first thing that you look at when you research this are the is the exclusion of independent voters in the primary system,” Kobos said “We want all voters to have the freedom to vote for the person they want. The person in their minds is the best person for the job, regardless of where they come from. And we want all independents to be able to vote equally as a party member. You shouldn't have to be forced to join a party in order to exercise your constitutional right to vote in elections that you're funding.”

For more information on Oklahoma’s partially closed election and why groups like Oklahoma United are pushing to change it, watch the full interview.

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