Oklahoma leaders advocate for open primaries at OKC panel discussion
In Oklahoma, primary elections arepartially closed — voters unaffiliated with a political party are able to cast ballots in Democratic, but not Republican, primaries. There's a movement to change that.
At The Press restaurant in Oklahoma City, about 100 people gathered for a panel discussion about open primaries, hosted byOklahoma United.
Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor Leslie Osborn and Open Primaries leader Jeremy Gruber shared their thoughts as panelists.
Oklahoma is one of16 states that hold closed, or partially closed, primaries.
Advocates for open primaries say that they increase voter participation, reduce partisan extremism and make elections less costly. Open primaries also allow every registered voter to cast a ballot.
“If we do something like this, I think it will get more people out voting, more selections on the ballot, and it's just a good way to get people involved and make them realize that their voice does matter,” Osborn said.
Osborn has experience with primaries as a candidate. Shefended off a primary from the right via former State Sen. Sean Roberts. Roberts was backed by Gov. Kevin Stitt during the 2022 GOP runoff contest.
Oklahoma United is collecting signatures from Oklahomans for a petition advocating open primaries.
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