The VIEW from here

State should dump straight party primary

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

Gary Gould — Managing Editor

A voter came into my office on Aug. 7, after he’d been to the polls, and he was upset the clerk there had required him to vote a straight party ticket. If he split his vote between Democrats and Republicans he would, in essence, spoil his ballot making it unusable.

I sympathized with the man because I think we should be allowed to vote for whomever we wish during any election. Instead we have the State of Michigan forcing us to vote for one party or the other in the primary. This is, in my opinion wrong.

Straight-ticket voting is a fine option to have. There are many voters who will only vote Democrat or Republican. But in my opinion if you are committed to neither party and want to vote for the candidate of your choosing, then a split-ticket is more to your liking.

But if you split your vote last Tuesday at the primary election, then your ballot was ruined and tossed out.

The state has no right to force voters to vote Democrat or Republican. I don’t care if the mandate comes from a majority of the registered voters in the state. Voting is a right, a privilege, and no one should be able to tell me who I can and cannot vote for. The straight ticket should be an option I can take with me to the polls, but it should not be required.

I’m curious how many ballots were tainted in the primary election by people who did not know they had to vote straight-party? How many of you who were forced to vote this way feel disenfranchised now? How many people just plain didn’t vote in the primary because they would be forced to choose Democrat or Republican?

In this day and age, when many people are shedding that partisan mentality and are voting a mix of parties, the straight-ticket requirement for the primary seems a bit draconian. Many people are no longer limiting themselves to a basic political ideology; they are selecting candidates who best represent their views and best interests. They are simply picking the man or woman who, in their opinion, will represent them best at the local, state and national levels.

Unfortunately, it’s the political parties themselves — the DNC and the GOP — who want to keep us locked into a straight-ticket vote during the primary. They don’t want us to be able to select candidates we think will serve the public best, they want to pick up as many controlling seats in state and national races as they can.

In trying to maintain their hold on the decision-making process, Democrats and Republicans are denying us the right to cast a vote for candidates we prefer; instead making us select everyone under their party umbrella.

Demand an end to straight-party ticket requirements in primary elections. Don’t let the political machine decide how we vote, make them give us back the power to vote how we want — for whomever we want.

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