The Parties Will Decide Who Chooses Their Nominees
[An abbreviated version of this letter appeared in The Clarion-Ledger on May 22, 2006.]
The Mississippi Democrats' lawsuit challenges the law that forces each political party to provide its primary ballot to any registered voter who requests it. If this law is ultimately struck down, each party will be free to determine which voters participate in its primary. This will hold true even if we have voter registration by party.
Gov. Haley Barbour stated in the March 26 Clarion-Ledger that, regardless of the outcome, Republican primaries will remain open to all voters. Sam Hall, the Democrats' communications director, has been quoted as saying that his party's primaries would be open to all except Republican voters.
Accordingly, the only voters who would have fewer choices than they have today would be Republicans.
27 states have closed primaries of one form or another. The people in those states would surely be puzzled and offended by your linking their election systems to poll taxes and loyalty oaths [May 12 editorial].
Nebraska, which has closed primaries, had a hotly-contested Republican primary for governor on May 9. Thousands of Democrats changed their party registrations in order to vote in the Republican primary.