Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Voting Day, and Crossover Voting

Today is a primary election, and there are actually some races where I care about the outcome, so I am definitely going to have to stop off and vote later this afternoon.

This primary is, of course, one of those lovely animals where if you vote Democratic in one race and Republican in another, it voids your ballot. Add to this the fact that in many races there are no Democratic candidates whatsoever--all the candidates are Republicans--and you end up with a situation where some races will be decided in this primary, and those who are Democrats will not be allowed to participate.

There's an editorial in the local rag today claiming that this is the fault of the local Democratic Party because they didn't run any candidates in these races. This is correct on the surface, but, as is typical with local rags, they essentially miss the heart of the problem.

The fact is that if the Democrats ran candidates in these races, they would probably lose. Democrats know this, and it is fairly certain that this is a major reason why they decide to not run anyone: Why would they want to fund a campaign that is probably going to be futile? Their funds are limited. Why throw them away on a lost cause?

So the newspaper can yammer away all it wants about the Democrats not running people, but that is not going to change the fact that in most of these races, you will never see a Democratic candidate. I cannot remember ever seeing a Democrat running for Sheriff, for example. The Democrats not running candidates is only the result of the problem, not the cause. The real problem is people not having a voice in the election just because they are inclined to support the minority party. It's a very simple problem. I can't vote for Register of Deeds (or whatever) because I am a Democrat. If I want to, can vote Republican in this primary, and then I will have a voice in the Register of Deeds race. But then I won't have a voice in other important races, such as State Assembly. Meanwhile, right-leaning voters will not be having this problem.

If I were living in a primarily left-leaning area, this same problem would exist, except in that case it would favor left-leaning voters. But it wouldn't be any more fair than it is here. Not allowing crossover voting inevitably denies a voice to a large proportion of citizens. The solution is trivially easy: allow it.


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