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Free Citizen

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

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Voter Choice Plan

Howard Roark and I have recently expressed ourselves on a post at Yall Politics about Mississippi's election system. Here's my comment from this morning:

You understand that I’m only proposing nonpartisan elections ("open primaries")[1] for our LOCAL (municipal and county) elections. Most of our municipalites, of course, elect their officials in the spring of the year following the presidential election, while our county officials are elected at the same time as our state officials, in the year preceding the presidential election.

Nonpartisan elections ("open primaries") would indeed save the taxpayers money. They would also make campaigns less expensive to conduct, which would encourage more candidates to run.

In addition, “open primaries” for local elections would remedy two recurring situations in Mississippi: (1) All or most of the candidates for mayor run in one party’s primary, while all of the candidates for council member run in the other party’s primary. Thus residents of that ward or district can vote for mayor OR council member, but not both.

(2) All or most of the candidates for county offices run in one party’s primary. Hence anyone in that county who votes in the other party’s primary for state offices misses out on voting for his county officials. In 2007, for example, all of the candidates for county offices in Hinds County ran in the Democratic primary; in Rankin County, on the other hand, almost all of the county candidates ran in the Republican primary.

Suppose my proposal were in place for our 2011 state and county elections. Here’s how it would work: Voter Choice Plan.

BTW, Howard, you were fantastic in ‘The Fountainhead.’


[1] All candidates, including independents, run in the same election. If no one gets 50-plus percent, the top two vote-getters, regardless of party, meet in a runoff.


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