I want to get more people involve in Florida elections. It’s that simple and that is one of the cornerstones of my candidacy for the Florida House of Representatives. This issue is important to me and it’s important to all of us because the more people that vote the more their voices are heard in Miami, in Tallahassee and in the nation. One recent estimate found that some 20 percent of Miami-Dade County voters cast their ballots in the recent primary. While it’s good to see a strong primary vote, and this year’s vote was expected to be higher than the 2014 primary vote in which only 14 percent of registered voters got to the ballot box, there are still some 11 million voters who didn’t vote in the 2018 primary.
We can do better. One of the issues I will be championing as your next representative in the Florida House of Representatives is open primaries for all voters. That means that all voters, including those with no party affiliation, (NPA) will be allowed to vote in the primaries. Currently the state Board of elections estimates that there are some 3.5 million NPA voters in Florida, and that number is rising. There are some 4.8 million active Democrats and 4.5 million registered active Republicans. I want to hear from all these voices.
I want Florida to be a leader in bringing more people to the polls. We can only solve our challenges if we are all involved and if every voter has a voice in how our government runs. I want to work to bring more voices into government and making sure every vote counts. We should be looking at ways to make voting simpler and fair and encourage all voters to be a part of the process, not find ways to limit voting. We should be looking at ways to get people out, not shut them out. Right now Florida is one of only 9 states that have closed primaries. I want to fix that.
Our process currently cuts almost a third of Florida voters out of an important stage in our political process. I think that’s wrong. Open primaries will allow for a better exchange of ideas and not allow candidates to lean on party regulars and standard party directives to get elected. Elections cost money and that money comes from taxes and right now over three million people are paying for a process they are shut out from. It’s time to change that.
The details are simple. Candidates would run for their offices as they do now. All voters would be able to pick two candidates on the primary ballot. Then to top two vote getters would run off in the general election. This allows all candidates an equal footing but also allows all voters an equal voice. Too often primaries are left to party regulars and insiders and allows candidates to run unopposed. This opens the elections up. Yes, you could get two Democrats or two independents to run against each other in the general election, but that will mean the voters made that choice, not the party bosses.
Finally, we need to make sure our voter laws allow all legal voters a fair chance to vote. We don’t need more restrictions instead we need more voter drives and we need to continue to provide and enhance early voting.
I want more people to vote in Florida and working toward open primaries will be my first assignment as your next member of the Florida House of Representatives.
Jeffrey Solomon is a chiropractor and lifelong resident of Miami. He and his wife live in the community he hopes to serve and have raised their four children there, all of them attending local public schools, with his oldest now a public school elementary teacher. He has been active in the community including working on the zoning board and as a member of the local PTA. A former doctor for the U.S. Olympic team, he continues to provide health care to his patients and neighbors.