Thursday, August 7, 2014

Opening the Primaries to Independent Voters

The Winds of change are blowing in the Democratic Party. The party chairman has changed his mind and now supports open primaries. Young women, and yes men, who decline to state a party, will be able to vote in the Democratic Party Primary in 2016. The chairman said that he will change the party rules to allow independents to vote even without a change in the law.  Representative Emily Kane and State Senator Bill O’Neill will introduce a bill to open all primaries to independent voters this next year during the annual meeting of the legislature.  

The Republican Party, to no one’s surprise, does not welcome the change. We can count on Governor Martinez vetoing any bill pasted that would open the primaries to independent voters if by some chance she was reelected. The Republican Party stated that they fear that independents would move their party more to the middle and therefore do not want young people involved in the voting process unless of course they are die-hard extremists.

Currently, there is a lawsuit working its way through the court system that would force the major parties to open their primaries because of the constitutional right to allow everyone to vote. The issue does have merit since no voter should ever be turned away during an election paid for by taxpayers. Perhaps the court will say that if the state pays for the cost of a primary election than that vote should be open to all taxpayers and not just members of the major parties. This would allow republicans to keep their closed dying primary system for a little more time until they drive all rational people from their party.  

At any rate this is a small victory for the voting public since it will increase voter turnout during the primaries. It will allow more of the public to have a say in their local, state, and federal government. Too often primaries are limited to one party and the general election is nothing more than a formality. Perhaps this will force more candidates to attend open free events prior to very late November.

Both parties still need to deal with the fact that fewer candidates are attending free open events where young people can speak to the candidates about their issues. I had my nineteen year old daughter speak to Congresswomen Michelle Lujan Grisham about her experience when it came to Obamacare at the National Night Out event. She will now have the assistance of her congresswomen to help her get through a broken system. Most young people cannot afford $50 or a $100 just to be able to speak to an elected official during the campaigning season. Congresswomen Lujan Grisham is one of the few elected official that still care enough about young voters to get out and attend free events where the younger people can find time to talk with their representatives. Parades are not a good venue for these types of discussions since very little serious conversation goes on while you are walking a parade route.