Archived Story

Crossover voting robs voters of voice

Published 2:19pm Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Did you vote in the Republican primary on March 13?

If you answered yes, you can forget voting in the Democratic primary runoff for the District 4 seat on the Butler County Commission.

Voters who participated in the Republican primary election on Tuesday, March 13, cannot vote in the Democratic primary runoff, according to rules adopted by the state’s Democratic Party.

The GOP allows crossover voting in its primary runoff election.

Crossover voting is simply when a voter takes part in one political party’s primary election and then votes in a primary runoff for the other party.

On March 13, the majority of Butler County voters cast their ballots in the Democratic primary since the Democratic ticket featured all of the local races. Given that fact, the crossover voting issue won’t affect most voters in the county, but what about those voters that call District 4 home?

If one of those voters chose to vote in the Republican primary in order to have their voice heard in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, he or she would essentially be banned from voting for his or her county commissioner come April 24 when Robert Blankenship and Allin Whittle face off in the runoff election.

We understand the intent of the state’s Democratic Party.

Democrats don’t want Republicans deciding whom their nominee will be. We get that.

But isn’t democracy supposed to be bigger than party affiliations?

Maybe those residing in District 4 that decided to vote in the Republican primary would also like to have a say in the District 4 runoff.

Sure, they will have a chance to vote for the winner of the runoff when he faces off with Charles Rogers in the General Election, but does that mean they shouldn’t have the right to help decide who will advance to that election?

Just because these men and women don’t agree with the Democratic Party’s ideals as a whole doesn’t mean they don’t care who is elected to serve them. They should have the unfettered right to vote as they choose in any election that will help determine who will represent their interests for the next four years.

We understand we are talking about a very small number of voters. Less than half the voters in the county voted in the Republican primary and certainly not all of those voters live in District 4, but robbing even a small number of voters of their right to vote based solely on party preference is wrong.

The Democrats rule against crossover voting needs to be go the way of Walkmans and polyester leisure suits. Instead of keeping voters away, we should be welcoming anyone willing to be involved in our local government by casting a ballot.

 

  • js35

    Voters should understand that Party primaries are “private” affairs in the sense that when voting in a Party primary, the voter — for that Primary, which includes the Run-Off, considers himself a member of that Party. We don’t have Party registration in Alabama, so that voter can decide to vote in a different Party primary in the next election two years later. These Primaries are nominating processes. The actual election in November. Now… all that said, for a true two-party system, both parties must nominate candidates to have the choices in the General election.

    Is anyone being “robbed” of a chance to vote? No, they weren’t… no more than a member of the Kiwana’s Club would expect to drop by the local Civitan club and cast a vote for their President.

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