GETTING OUT THE VOTE
Primaries are for parties only
RECENTLY THERE has been considerable discussion regarding what is called open primaries in New Mexico. The concept is that anyone, regardless of their affiliation with a political party, should have the ability to vote in primary elections. There have even been opinions offered that denying the independent voter the right to vote in primaries is a violation of New Mexico voting rights laws. The problem with this position is that a primary is not an election; it is by definition a method for the political parties to determine the preference of its members regarding selection of candidates for an ensuing general election. In fact, there is no compelling reason, other than expediency, where any primary need be held. A political party would be well within its rights to forgo the expense of a primary open to the general public and select its candidates through a convention or similar process. Open primaries provide members of opposing parties to select candidates for the general election who they have no plans to support through their votes, rather to stack the deck in the favor of their candidates.
Let us choose best candidates
LET ME SEE if I understand this correctly: Decline to State registered voters will be able to vote in a primary if they state a party affiliation which they have already declined to state. This is the solution? Hardly.
I decline to state because I want to vote for the best candidate for the office regardless of that candidate’s party affiliation. I would prefer a primary ballot that lists all the candidates for each office and let’s me vote for the ones I think are best qualified. Then the top two winners face off in the general election. And if they are from the same party or from different parties or from Mars, so be it.
However, requiring me to choose a party when I have already chosen not to is not the answer to an open primary. An open primary is just that – a primary that doesn’t require party affiliations and allows voters to make their decisions based on which candidates they think are the right candidates.
I would think that at least Republicans who are always talking about individual responsibility would support such a primary. And Democrats who are always taking a populace stance should naturally lean toward giving the broadest number of voters the greatest choice. But where the rubber hits the road, self-preservation is the guiding principle and both parties are closer on this issue than one might think.