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Free Citizen

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

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Open Primary Ruling: An Ex-Congressman's Notions

Wow! If someone as knowledgable and experienced as David Bowen has some of the notions that he has, what must the rest of our citizens be thinking?

The respected former congressman says, “A federal judge has ruled… that we must register by party, Democratic, Republican or independent, and be admitted only to the party primary where we are registered.”

No judge, no court has the power to say who can vote in which party’s primary. As I have written several times previously-- on this website and in letters to The Clarion-Ledger-- the ultimate outcome of the Democrats’ lawsuit will be that the two major parties will replace the state as the decision-makers in who votes in which primary. Democratic and independent voters will have the same choices on primary day as ALL voters now have, while Republicans will only be able to vote in the Republican primary.

The purpose of party registration is simply to identify voters, and I’m guessing that the legislature will exercise its prerogative and enact party registration.

“... Louisiana… has a system… in which all candidates run in the same [election], with a runoff if needed to determine a majority winner. It plays down party affiliation and gives voters total access to all the candidates.”

By eliminating party primaries, it also takes away the parties’ ability to officially nominate candidates. That’s one of the big reasons why only one state-- Louisiana-- uses that system to elect all of its state officials.

But it’s a great idea for municipal elections, as illustrated by the fact that the large majority of U. S. municipalities-- including most of the big cities-- already use it. It would take a grassroots organization to get the Mississippi legislature to enact nonpartisan municipal elections, popularly called “open primaries.” The powers that be, of course, would fight such an effort.

I, for one, am willing to get involved in such an organization.

This commentary is also posted at Yall Politics.


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