Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why I Hate Having To Choose A Party

Washington's primary elections were yesterday. I have a confession to make. I don't like voting. I always vote because I believe it is my responsibility to do so. Voting is a privilege that I do not take lightly. But I don't enjoy it. I mean, I wouldn't call voting a rip-roaring good time. It can be tedious, it can be frustrating, and it can take a fair amount of work if you are going to take it seriously and actually learn about the candidates and the issues that are on the ballot. But that wasn't really the intended point of this post.

What I meant to say is that Washington now requires voters to choose a political party (in the primaries) and to vote only for candidates who represent that party. If you deviate from this rule and vote for, say, a Republican Senate candidate and a Democratic House candidate, your entire partisan ballot will be disregarded. I think this is stupid. I usually vote for Republicans on moral grounds, but I want to have the option of voting for whomever I please. And the thing that really bugged me this time around was that there were several positions on the ballot for which no Republicans were running. If I wanted to vote for a Republican senator, which I did, then I had to forfeit the right to vote for several smaller offices. What kind of a democracy is that?

Well, anyway, I'm no political genius, but I think that mandatory partisan voting is stupid.

1 comment:

Bob said...

You can, of course, still vote in any race for which you are a constituent in the general election. You probably weren't able to vote for certain offices in the Republican primary because there was no Republican candidate for those offices.

Part of why cross-over voting is not allowed is because it can be used to sabotage a candidate in a primary. For example, let's say that there is a district in which there is one Republican candidate and two Democrats for a particular office. And further, let us suppose that the Republican is predicted to have a tough race against one Democrat but an easy race against the other. In this district, 40% are Republicans, 40% are Democrats and 20% are independants and others. If a large number of Republicans voted in the Democrat primary, they could influence which Democrat their candidate would have to face. Thus, one party's voters would not only be choosing their own candidate but the other party's candidate as well.