Posted by Russell Daniels on May 14, 2019 at 4:04 PM
Closed Primary Elections
One of the worst pieces of legislation to ever be before the Missouri General Assembly is one that calls for closed primary elections.
It mandates that a voter must register as a Democrat or Republican in order to be eligible to vote in their respective primary elections, starting in 2021.
The House has voted to abolish open primary elections, which Missouri now has. The bill barely won first-round approval.
The bill won initial approval on a 78-72 vote. It will need 82 votes on a second-round vote to move it to the Senate.
Under the bill, people not registered with a party could not vote for candidates in a primary election, but could vote on ballot issues.
The Missouri Republican Party platform calls for closed primary elections. Some Republicans voted against it in the House.
To begin with, the opinion here is that the proposed bill is unconstitutional. It would deny a voter the right to take a party ballot of his choice unless he or she is registered as a party member. There are more independent voters than ever before because of disenchantment with the party that they once claimed loyalty to. There are voters who, say, wanted a Republican Party ballot in most primaries, but took a Democratic Party ballot in some elections because they want to support a particular candidate under that banner. To have to change parties for that election by registering as a Democrat, or vice versa, is denial of a basic right in our republic.
It also creates an added burden on both the voters and election officials in registering as a certain party member for primary elections.
We don’t know how it is in other voting jurisdictions, but party affiliation in this area isn’t as important as it used to be. Active party membership is down for both major parties, mainly because of issues of the day. We remember the day when some voters were born into a Democratic Party family, or Republican family, and they always voted a straight party ticket, regardless of the candidates.
Open primary elections have worked well in Missouri. If a particular lawmaker thinks it will give his party an advantage, he or she is out of touch with the people in the district. There still is party loyalty but there are more independent voters today than ever before.
A voter should have the right to choose which party ballot he or she wants in a particular primary election without registering as a party member.
To make them register as a particular party member is wrong!