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Open primaries will benefit minority voters | Opinion

This November, Florida voters have the chance to expand the voting rights of all registered voters by supporting “All Voters Vote” — Amendment 3.

As a Black woman and a physician who grew up in the social isolation of poverty in the Black community of South Philadelphia, I support Joe Biden’s decision to choose Kamala Harris as his running mate. She is a woman of color and a talented politician. And as she said at her announcement, she stands on the shoulders of women of color who came before her.

Sen. Harris is a Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in California’s “top two” open primary system and is the visible product of an inclusive and democratic system that allows new leaders to rise to the top. This puts her in a unique position to demonstrate the benefits of an election system in which all voters — including independent voters like me — have full and equal rights.

Amendment 3, which is on the Florida ballot this November, will establish an open, primary for state offices, ending the exclusion of 3.5 million independent voters — including hundreds of thousands of people of color — from voting in primaries. This system is not new. It is currently used throughout Florida for municipal and many county elections.

After it was enacted in California, the Black legislative caucus grew by 50%, the Latino legislative caucus grew by 25%, and voter approval of the legislature grew from 14% to 42% — all in just eight years. It’s a system that is fair to everyone, empowers communities of color and allows all voters to vote for any candidate. Prominent civil rights attorneys, including Michael Hardy, the executive vice president of the National Action Network, believe that open primaries are the next chapter in the fight for voting rights.

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