Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Why open primaries matter

I’m an independent voter, and because of that, I’ve never voted in a primary election in New York, where I live. I would have broken that string this year because I feel it is so important that we have a good choice of candidates this November.

Well, not for the first time in my life, sloth got in the way of good intentions. I went online to get the registration procedure this morning only to discover that, although I’m already registered to vote in general elections, I would have had to have registered for the primaries no later than January 11th..

This is just undemocratic. First, why 25 days before the election? It’s totally arbitrary -- a tool for the established parties to maintain power. Second, the election may be only 20 days away but it is still a real horse race in both parties, therefore, I’m not sure in which primary I’d have liked to have voted.

I want my vote to be valuable, so if on February 5, for example, Mrs. Clinton had a solid lead in the Democratic race while the Republican contest was close, I’d have preferred to have voted in the latter, to make a difference.

Another, perhaps fanciful, example might have been if McCain had a clear lead in the Republican field while Obama and Kucinich were running neck-and-neck. Even though I’m much more likely to vote for McCain in November, I would have voted for Obama in the primary because I believe that would have been better for the country.

I should have the right to decide on February 5 which way to vote. Instead, I’ll sit on the sidelines and hope for the best.


CharlyB said...

Aw, why do you hate Hillary?

d'blank said...

Does it sounds like I hate Hillary? I don't. In fact, I'm going to do a post one of these days wondering why so many do.
Now, I don't love her either, but that's a whole 'nuther story.

fenway said...

so as I said to our friend Anna: 'just to be able to say you're an independent you are never able to vote in the NY primary. I would choose a team for important elections. So you choose wrong. Big deal, you weren't able to vote anyway. I say pull your pants up, be a man, opt for a side.

d'blank said...

Fenway -- easy for you to say. how would you like to be forced to associate yourself, for the public record, with that party you hate, in order to exercise your right to vote?

AY said...

This election has a lot of people upset over the two-party voting process. Unlike d'blank, the public label of Dem of Rep doesn't bother me.

By switching to be an Independent, I was hoping (like so many others) this would spur the establishment of a solid 3-way party system.

I've sent my complaint to Chuck Schumer -- since I know he's a proponent of changing the voting laws in NY.

So I'm still optimistic...