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Free Citizen

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

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Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Crossover Voters Treated Differently

Since 1987, Mississippi has had a law that says primary voters' party loyalty may be verbally challenged at the polls, but it has seldom been used.

Ohio's system is like Mississippi's in that (1) voters do not register by party, and (2) each primary voter's choice of party is publicly recorded.

The Mississippi Democrats' lawsuit against our primary election law is now in the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. If (1) this law is struck down and (2) party registration is not enacted, the Democrats, in order to block Republicans from Democratic primaries, would likely have to resort to requiring primary voters to sign a statement at the polls similar to the one mentioned below.

From Ohio.com - AP:

Some Ohio counties challenged voters who switched parties when they voted in the state's March 4 primary, while other counties challenged none, a newspaper review found.

The discrepancies show it's time to review a century-old state law that outlines who can vote in party primaries, elections experts say.

More than 20,000 crossover voters in Cuyahoga County _ the state's largest county and a Democratic stronghold _ were told by poll workers to sign statements pledging allegiance to their new party.

But a review by The Columbus Dispatch published Friday found Franklin County and other counties didn't challenge any party switchers, while some counties only did so at the polls, but not if the voters used an absentee ballot.

In Mahoning County, which includes Youngstown, crossover voters were challenged but still got a ballot even if they wouldn't sign the form. Other counties' elections staffers instructed poll workers to challenge, but they believe the directive was not followed consistently.

Ohio has had a law since 1909 to discourage voters in primaries from interfering with a party selecting its general election candidates, said Don McTigue, a veteran elections lawyer.

It is the duty of the presiding judge at a polling site to challenge any voter who wants to switch parties, according to state law. The judge must have the voter sign a form saying they support the principles of a particular political party and desire to be affiliated with it.

Ohio's elections chief, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, said...Keep reading>>>

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