The number of signatures required to get on the ballot is obstructive, not democratic.
Published: January 8, 2014
Regarding City Paper’s new year’s resolutions piece on open primary elections (“Hold open primaries for all elections,” Feature, Jan. 1), the stats, rationale, and sentiments almost look good. It is easy to find oneself concurring with the idea of opening up the Democratic Party primaries to all who choose to vote therein, regardless of party affiliation, in the name of “democracy.”
The problem I have with the concept is that the primary election is meant to serve as the mechanism whereby members of a political party choose who among their party’s candidates will represent their party in the general election. If so, then why does it make sense to allow members of some other party to have a say in a different party’s candidate selection process?
If I were, for example, a Republican (I was in my youth, before I figured out who was lying in the Vietnam War—they all were!), I wouldn’t want a Democrat having a say in choosing who would be the GOP candidate in the gubernatorial elections. Likewise, if I were a Green: I wouldn’t want Republicans determining who would or would not be the Green Party candidate for U.S. senator.
Rather than determining that Baltimore or Maryland primaries should be open to any properly registered voter of any or no party, voting in any party primary they want, the best way to democratize the electoral process would be to ease up on the primary and general election process to any bona fide party that registers, whether it be Democratic, Republican, Socialist, Green, Communist, Working Families, or any other party. The number of signatures required to get on the ballot is obstructive, not democratic.
If the writer of this resolution is concerned about meaningful change toward a “healthy democracy,” then I suggest looking toward reform that makes it possible for us to vote for people in parties beyond “tweedledee and tweedledum.”