Re: Move to North Dakota if you really want a secret ballot, or ....

From: Alan Dechert <alan_at_openvotingconsortium_dot_org>
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 10:42:42 CDT

Doug,
>
> On Aug 5, 2004, at 7:50 AM, Alan Dechert wrote:
>
> > I contend that revealing your party when you vote in a primary is a
> > compromise of the right to a secret ballot.
>
> This depends entirely on what you believe should be the role of
> the primary.
>
Not so much that as it is how they are conducted. Let me preface this by
saying I don't care to keep my party or even how I vote a secret. I am
pretty vocal about such things and I don't keep any secrets in this regard.
However, I can understand--and I defend--the rights of others that want
[and, perhaps, need] to keep such things secret.

When I vote in a primary, they look at my party affiliation and then take a
ballot from the stack of ballots with for Democrats. Anyone standing around
there can see that I'm a Democrat (and possibly a "baby killer" to some).

> Is a primary election primarily a matter of internal party
> governance, where the members of the party select their
> candidate using secret ballots, .....
>
Apparently not if it's run by the government and there are other issues on
the ballot.

> ..... as an alternative to selecting their candidates through
> a caucus-convention model, or is it something else.
>
Okay.

> If a primary is essentially an internal matter, then requiring
> party membership for voting in a primary is no different
> from a corporation limiting the right to vote in corporate
> elections to the shareholders in that corporation. .....
>
If it's an internal matter, why should the government track party
membership? And why should the government conduct the primary election?

>
> Another interesting question is, when primary elections are
> purely partisan matters, what business does government have
> in running them?
>
Yeah, that's what I was thinking.

> In some states, the government charges the parties for the cost of
> running the primaries. My guess is that there is a legitimate government
> interest in assuring that the integrity of elections that determine
candidates
> put forth by the parties for public office. One way to gain such
assurance
> is to have the government itself administer party primaries.
>
Big brother knows best. Sort of makes sense, though.

I don't think there is any justification for the govenment tracking party
affiliation, however. The parties could provide membership rolls for use
with the pollsite roster, if necessary.

In essence, I am arguing for an opt-out system rather than opt-in. There is
no reason for excluding someone from voting just because they didn't fill
out some form. Voter eligibility could be tracked in a statewide database
like the Driver's License or ID file.

Alan D.
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:03 2004

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