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

From: Joel Harris <joel_at_ccpconsultinginc_dot_com>
Date: Thu Aug 05 2004 - 11:05:52 CDT

Alan Dechert wrote:

>>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.
>
>
That is done merely for convenience! The state governments run the
primaries because they choose to and the parties find it convenient to
let them do so. They add other elections to the primary election and
those are state government matters. But that does not mean that the
primary is not an internal party governance matter. That, for better or
worse, is part of what has happened with switching to a primary system
from a caucus system. In my state (Indiana), the parties determine
certain things about the primary ballot--particularly the order in which
the names appear on the ballot. In a state government matter, the laws
of the state would determine order.

>>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 both cases, the answer is convenience.

>>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.
>
>
>
That sounds like it would be a difficult system to maintain. The state
maintined rolls would have to be matched with the party rolls. As much
trouble as we have figuring out if someone is actually eligible to vote
in the precinct that they show up in, I cannot imagine adding three (or
more) databases into the mix to figure out if you are eligible to vote
in the x, y or z party primary.

Joel
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Received on Tue Aug 31 23:17:03 2004

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