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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Name:
Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Friday, October 29, 2004

Is There A Republican Method of Performing Autopsies?

Many Mississippi voters face a predicament every four years. All or most of the candidates for their county offices are in one party's primary, while their favorite candidates for state offices are in the other party's primary. Some races are actually decided in one party's primary.

The Voter Choice Plan would solve this problem. Under this plan, we would elect county officials on a nonpartisan basis, just as we now elect state and county judges and county election commissioners. The special elections that we hold to fill vacancies in offices are also nonpartisan.

State officials would be elected exactly as they are now, and candidates for state offices would be the only ones on the August party primary ballots.

Candidates for county offices would first appear on the November general election ballot, where they would be listed along with the winners of the party primaries for state offices. The candidates for county offices would have no party labels next to their names.

There would be a runoff two weeks later for any county office for which no candidate had received 50%-plus of the vote.

This plan would enable all voters to participate in the August party primary of their choice for state offices, and still choose among all the candidates for county offices.

County candidates would never have to run more than two campaigns, whereas they now potentially face three elections-- the primary, the runoff primary, and the general election. And they would be able to stay out of the summer heat!

Many of us care about the party affiliations of the governor and legislators. But what difference does it make whether the county coroner is a Democrat or a Republican? Is there a Republican method of performing autopsies?

We also have party primaries for the county surveyor. Is there a Democratic method of surveying land?

If the legislature passes the Voter Choice Plan and the governor signs it, it will then have to be approved by the U. S. Department of Justice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is the Voter Choice Plan the same as the open primary?

A. No, since candidates for county offices would only run in the November general election, with a runoff if necessary.

The term "open primary" has been popular in Mississippi since the 1960s. It has usually referred to the Louisiana election system, in which the political parties have no way of nominating candidates for any state or local offices.

Q. You say candidates for state offices would be the only ones on the August party primary ballots, but I would still have to choose either the Democratic or the Republican primary. Why can't I cross party lines in August?

A. The U. S. Supreme Court declared that unconstitutional in 2000.

Q. What's the difference between a primary election and a general election?

A. The purpose of a primary election is to nominate a party's candidates for the general election. Candidates are actually elected to office in the general election.

Sometimes all the candidates for a particular office run in one party's primary. When this happens, winning that primary is equivalent to being elected to office. But the winner of that primary is not actually elected until the general election, where he runs unopposed.

Q. You say that, under this plan, county officials would be elected on a nonpartisan basis. What exactly does that mean?

A. Candidates for county offices are now included in the August party primaries. To get on the primary ballot, a candidate has to qualify with his party.

Under the Voter Choice Plan, a candidate for any county office would get on the November general election ballot by getting signatures on a petition. Since county candidates would no longer run in the party primaries, they would have no party labels next to their names.

Q. Why would the candidates for county offices have to wait until November to be on the ballot?

A. Any candidate who runs on a nonpartisan basis only runs in the general election.

Q. Most plans have drawbacks. Does the Voter Choice Plan have any shortcomings?

A. Yes, but I must first insist that you be sitting down and have a king-size bottle of nerve pills handy.

This plan has two drawbacks: (1) You won't be exposed to as much political advertising in the summertime, and (2) you won't have as many politicians knocking on your door.

OH, NO-O-O-O!!!

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If you like the Voter Choice Plan, please contact your state representative and state senator and tell them. In case you're not sure who they are, here's the address for the Secretary of State's home page. Click on the "Elections" icon; near the bottom of the "Elections" page, click on "Voter Registrars by County." (The circuit clerk is the voter registrar, and this office can give you the names of your representative and senator.)
Secretary of State

To get contact information for your representative and senator, go to the legislature's home page (address below). There are links for "House of Representatives" and "State Senate"; on each of these pages, there's a "Members" link.

The Voter Choice Plan will first have to be approved by the Apportionment and Elections Committee in the House and the Elections Committee in the Senate. On both the House and Senate home pages, there's a "Committees" link, which will take you to a list of each committee's members.

Mississippi Legislature

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