Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Editorial: Hold OPEN Primaries

The only fair way would be to hold open primaries South Pittsburgh Reporter
Okay. We are getting some chatter about how we pick our elected officials. Splendid.

The local paper ran a letter to the editor about our election law and the special election process. Click to see the contents.

However, the article has a few technical elements that are not really right on the mark. There are plenty of ways to hold better elections than what we have now. There isn't ONLY one way.

Plus, with a special election, the OPEN PRIMARY would not work. The endorsement was the primary, so to speak. And, because some were able to gather signatures to enter the ballot as a memeber of a political body, while still being a member of a political party -- we have what is very near to an open primary anyway.

Instant run-off elections would be way better than what we have now.

For the record, I'm a member of a political party. I'm a Libertarian. I'll be listed as the third one on the election day ballot. Mark Rauterkus, Libertarian, goes after the Republican and before the Green.

Generally, I like to find real-world solutions to problems and this one was put forth from a friend who is a Democratic Committee Member. He suggested that those who go before the Dem Party Committee to seek an endorsement from the Dem Committee who don't get the endorsement should be banned for the next five years from ever going back to the committee for anything else.

Really, what we've got now is a party problem. The problems are folks who claim to be one thing but are really just being two things at the same time. So, this new, proposed Dem rule, far from me to introduce it, by the way, would raise the stakes so if one does NOT get the Dem endorsement and runs anyway -- they'd not win again. So, real Dem candidates would need to be and stay in the Dem party.

Pat S and Eileen C both ran for the seat -- and then had the grace to get out. Same too with Ed J. Meanwhile, Matt and Mike ran for the seat and had the grace to get out of the Dem party too -- before the endorsement. Nothing wrong there either.

I'd like the Dem party to be more strict with its housekeeping as it would make the alternative party choices more viable. When you can be this one day and then be something else the next day -- while still being that the day prior too -- its double trouble for the voters and confusion sets in.

Clear rules help. Rules within the party and within the election generally.

Let's talk democracy and how to fix it. Ever hear or proportional voting? Ranked voting works wonders too. If there are eight choices, rank candidates 1, 2, 3, and so on.

Now we are in a race where people are voting for the anti-whatever -- and that gets to be really, really goofy when eight are in the race.

The lesser of two evils is still evil.

In a big field, with one vote, you got to choose who you want and you got to hope and understand that there are many others out there that think the same way you do.

Everyone wins when Liberty wins. Everyone understands that. And, everyone who has been a kid is sure to vote for me too. So, (wink, wink), I think I'm the most viable. So, if you're not happy with the way things have been and want to put up a vote that is more anti-establishement than the others, vote for me again.


Mark Rauterkus said...

Note, looking closer, I see that the "ONLY" word came via the headline, and not the text of the letter. So, the critical element of the message needs to be tempered.

Anonymous said...

The only fair way would be to hold open primaries

Open primaries and voting machines with immediate hard copy of results are needed in our election; if, we want to insure honest elections. The current system and proposed voting equipment are a direct threat to our democracy.

The way primaries are conducted locally is in need of an update.

The current special election for City Council District 3 is a good example of how our system is set up to ensure the established parties hold onto power.

Since, tax payers at large are paying for the elections and not the parties themselves; the primaries and special elections should be open.

That is, you should not have to declare what party you belong to in order to get to vote in special and primary elections.

Recently the, Democratic Party and Republican officials met to appoint a candidate for the special election from their parties. There was no input from individual voters; just the backroom political machines, again.

The number of independent candidates in this special election shows my point. The only way these candidates can run now is as an independent.

I am registered to vote in one of the parties; but would rather be an independent voter. If, however I did register as such, I could not vote in primary elections.

Cross party elections are allowed in many states and I believe this removes some of the influence of the established parties and their political machines.

In a time when many of our citizens are involved in a conflict that is alleged to be spreading democracy; we should take the necessary steps to insure complete and honest elections. The influence and channeling of vast amounts of campaign funds and voting apparatus that can be manipulated in their results are currently in the headlines. If, we change the way we run our elections there is a chance to enhance the quality of our democracy.

We need completely open primaries if the taxpayer is made to pay for the elections. I am suggesting that parties could pay for their own elections prior to the primaries and run their candidates in a primary against other parties and independent candidates for us all to vote in. This would be a more pure form of democracy.

Paul McCarthy, South Side

(Editor’s Note: The Special Election to elect a councilman in District 3 slated for Tuesday, March 14 is an open election. Any registered voter in the district is eligible to vote for any candidate in this election, including members of all political parties and independents. The candidate elected on this date will serve the remainder of the unexpired term for the office vacated by Gene Ricciardi when he left to serve as a District Magisterial Judge in South Side.)