Posted by Russell Daniels on July 01, 2021 at 3:13 PM
Semi-open primaries a victory for voting access
Hooray! I may now be able to vote in a primary election without becoming a party member for three months. These “parties” can be fun but often turn out to be uneventful and prescriptive. They are not all that they are cracked up to be.
The Maine Legislature recently passed a bill that I, and other disenfranchised registered voters, truly hope the governor will sign once it reaches her desk. L.D. 211, if made law, will allow unenrolled voters to participate in one party’s primary election. This means that I and other “independent” voters will be able to register with our city or town clerks during a primary election and receive a ballot to vote for those seeking election within the party I have chosen for that specific election.
In political parlance this is called a semi-open primary system, as I will only be able to vote for one party’s candidates to go on to the general election. But it allows me to have a voice in this space that I pay for every few years. Although I am lucky to not be encumbered by voting restrictions as we see in other states, this change in legal status is exciting and I hope to be able to utilize it as soon as possible. Even one more vote in an election is worth the effort in what should be our open democratic society.
Although this is great, I also look forward to the day when all of our registered voters receive a ballot in the mail for whatever election we are holding, primary or general, as is now the case in seven innovative states, so voting access becomes readily available to everyone.