Do The Parties Differ On Fixing Potholes?
A shorter version of this letter appeared in The Clarion-Ledger on May 25, 2005.
It happened again.
All or most of the candidates for mayor ran in one party's primary, while all the candidates in certain wards or districts ran in the other party's primary. Thus, residents of those wards or districts could vote for mayor or council member, but not both.
This year, Hattiesburg and Tupelo were two cities in which voters had to make this choice.
We can prevent this from happening in the future by changing to the system that the big majority of U. S. cities already use: non-partisan elections, popularly called "open primaries." The legislature could require all municipalities to use this system, or each locality could be allowed to decide for itself.
Staff writer Alfred Smith Jr. discussed the expense of running for local office ("Municipal campaign can be costly venture," May 14). In the current system of party primaries, a candidate potentially faces three elections: the primary, the runoff primary and the general election.
In a non-partisan system, in contrast, no candidate ever has to undergo more than two campaigns: the election and, if necessary, the runoff. This system also ensures that all winning candidates get 50-plus percent of the vote-- which is not the case in the current system.
Furthermore, fewer elections mean less expenditure of the taxpayers' money.
Wirt Yerger says, "For over 50 years I have strongly advocated non-partisan municipal elections" ("Melton can 'reverse' Jackson's decline if elected mayor," April 27 letter). How many more years will we wait before giving our citizens greater choice in local elections?