Voters need to know rules of party primaries

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 23, 2007

As the August 7 primaries approach, some confusion remains overwhat and how things will be taking place that day.

A persistent source of confusion involves who may participate inwhich party’s primary.

The answer, under current state law, is that any voter,regardless of their personal political leanings, may vote in eitherparty’s primary on August 7 – but not both. Those with a Democraticmindset may choose to vote Republican and vice-versa.

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The only restriction is that voters will not be able to “crossover” to the other party’s primary for any runoffs on Aug. 28.

In other words, if you vote Democratic on Aug. 7, you could notgo vote Republican on Aug. 28. The same applies to Aug. 7Republicans who couldn’t be Democrats three weeks later for therunoff.

What this means for voters is that they will have to choosewhich candidates they feel strongest about supporting.

A person who wants to vote for a Republican House District 92candidate on August 7 will not also be able to cast a ballot for,say, one of the Democratic candidates for sheriff. That person willhave to decide which race is more important to them.

We have in the past expressed our disagreement with the currentprimary system in place, preferring instead a system that trulywould allow people to vote for the candidate of their choiceregardless of party affiliation. Efforts to create a such as systemhave failed in the past and future prospects are at bestuncertain.

While voters may not like the party primary game, they do needto know the rules and how it is played.

On the Nov. 6 general election ballot, Republicans, Democrats,Independents and lesser party candidates will all be listedtogether. Voters then will be able to cast ballots for whomeverthey choose.

Other sources of confusion we’ve heard lately involve annexationrelated questions and where people will vote.

The city’s recent annexation of some people in the county willhave absolutely no effect on the primary election. Newly annexedcity residents are still part of the county and are eligible tovote in the county election.

As for where votes can be cast, that will be done at the 32designated polling places for precincts throughout the county.Voters may check their registration cards in the space undersupervisor’s district or they may look on page 6A of today’s paperfor voting locations.

This year’s elections are important for the future of LincolnCounty and the state. Therefore, voters need to be clear aboutwhat’s at stake and how the process works.