HB0405 – the first bill that sought to exclude voters from primary elections – failed in committee last week.

After making it through the House Campaign & Finance Subcommittee, the bill was voted down by the full Local Government committee

But there's another pair of bills coming this week that seeks to accomplish the same thing, and we need you to help us protect our voting rights.

Use the tool below to email each of the committee members. Each committee member name links to a ready-to-send email. You only have to sign your name – but these messages are even more impactful when they are personalized. 




HB1045 matters because: 

  • It would exclude unaffiliated, independent, and third-party voters from participating in primary elections.
  • Elections are paid for by taxpayers, and this bill will exclude some of those people from participating in primaries. 
  • In response to the taxpayer issue, Republican supporters of this bill claim that because primary races are held at the same time as other races, they don't cost taxpayers any additional money. But perhaps they shouldn't benefit from taxpayer-funded elections if they aren't going to allow everyone to participate. 
  • The head of Tennessee's Republican Party, Scott Golden, claims that as many as 1 to 3 percent of voters may be guilty of manipulating the election by crossing over to vote in the opposing primary. (We aren't sure how they are going to prove intent.)
  • Opponents criticize the idea of excluding 97 percent of legitimate voters in response to a small percentage of crossover voters.
  • Noteworthy that Chairman Rudd has proposed a bill of his own that requires elections officers to post signs reminding voters that it is a Class C misdemeanor to vote in a political party's primary without being a member of that party. 


HB1045 will appear before the House Campaign & Finance Subcommittee on March 1 at noon in House Hearing Room II. The public is welcome to attend these hearings, and voters can also submit requests to speak before the committee. (Requests must be made in advance.)

Citizen presence at these meetings matters, and groups like Forward TN, League of Women Voters, and Open Primaries are working together to keep our primaries open to all voters. You can also sign Open Primaries' petition here


Shannon Rasmussen


Content writer and researcher; Army veteran; I realized I was in an political echo chamber in 2016, and finding the Forward Party was a piece of that journey.