Runoffs again show primary review need

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, August 14, 2011

Runoffs in this year’s primaries are alittle more than a week away, and candidates are campaigning hardto secure their party’s nomination.

    Absentee voting began Saturday, and no doubt at least a few votershave been surprised at their lack of choice in the elections. Thatis in no way a reflection on the candidates’ qualifications andabilities, but rather on the state’s party primary system.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

    The Aug. 23 runoffs represent another aspect of a flawed systemthat many voters find distasteful. That is because voters will onlybe allowed to vote in the runoff for the same political party thatthey cast a ballot for in the first primary.

    In other words, if you voted Democrat on Aug. 2, you can only voteDemocrat on Aug. 23. The same goes for the Republicans, as there isno “crossing over” from one party to the other between the firstand second primaries.

    The only wrinkle is that if you did not vote either way on Aug. 2,you are free to vote in whichever party’s runoffs youdesire.  But, in a sense,you would be in the same boat as other voters were in during thefirst primary.

    You may feel strongly about supporting a state Republican runoffcandidate, but also want to vote for your neighbor in a localDemocratic runoff.  Sadly,you can only help one and will not be able to vote for both.

    Knowing that in advance of the runoff will save a lot of time andpotential confusion. But it won’t do a lot to lessen thefrustration and aggravation over a system in need of review.