Voting and the Upcoming Primaries

Voting and the Upcoming Primaries


As has been discussed in previous columns, the next opportunity for Edgefield County to vote is in the primary elections on Tuesday, June 12th. That is elections (plural), because South Carolina now has open primaries, and all registered voters are allowed to participate in either party’s primary but not both, regardless of whether they consider themselves Republicans, Independents, or Democrats. Voting in the primary does not commit you as to how you cast your ballot in November; it merely expresses your right to help determine who will be on that ballot.

Having had a 30-year military career, my wife Carol and I have been voters in several jurisdictions before returning home to Edgefield County over a decade ago. Not all have open primaries like ours. The advantage is this. In South Carolina, one party predominates at the state level: every elected statewide office is currently held by a Republican, even though in the last Presidential election Republicans only carried 55% of the presidential vote. If we required voter registration by party and limited primary election participation accordingly, and if slightly over half of the Republicans supported a particular candidate for a state office – say 30% among that 55% — then that person would become the Republican party’s nominee and likely would be elected. This would be the case even if the other 25% of Republicans as well as the 45% non-Republicans – 70% of the electorate overall – preferred the same, different candidate. With the current system, everybody could choose to vote in the Republican primary and ensure that the voters’ overall preference became the nominee, and hence would likely be elected.

We in South Carolina used to require party membership to vote in primary elections. That was before the Civil Rights Act when most black citizens were discouraged if not prevented from voting, and the predominant party was the Democratic Party. The result was too often a politician whose appeal was limited to just a portion of South Carolinians, and whose agenda just needed those single-party voters to support him (it was always “him”) in the primary. Nobody else’s vote would matter. We don’t want to go back to that.

On June 12th, the Republican primary ballot includes this question: “Do you believe that voters should have the option to choose to affiliate with a political party when they register to vote or change their voter registration in South Carolina?” You can see where that is leading. If you plan to vote in the Republican primary, or you haven’t decided which primary election to participate in, I encourage you to vote in the Republican primary and to vote “NO” on that question.

And while you’re voting, take a look at the candidate list. Decide which of those listed most closely aligns with your personal politics and vote for him or her, regardless of whether you plan to support them in November. You have the right to choose who will end up on that November ballot, and the party primary is the time to choose. Get out and vote on June 12th!

One Response to "Voting and the Upcoming Primaries"

  1. Scott Cooper   June 19, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    This was posted in my column, which I will also post in it’s entirety below:

    Should Primary Elections Be Decided by The Parties, Part One

    I hope Robert Mitchell Scott’s editorial last week, suggesting that Political Party Primaries, where prior to the general election in November, individuals seek their affiliated political party’s “nomination,” by first going through the party primary process, is placed online. I believe it should be placed online, where all South Carolinian’s can comment, as I believe this is a debate all South Carolinian’s need to understand and be engaged in.

    Mr. Scott advocates for open primaries, where regardless of your worldview: whether you believe in free-markets vs. crony-capitalism, private property rights vs. federal bureaucratic encroachment on those rights, the concept of private charity with accountability vs. mandatory increased dependency, a strong national defense with secure borders and sound immigration policy vs. an open border system, you can and should be able to select leadership for all parties – changing party affiliation for the Primary, year to year, regardless of your own personal views.

    At the outset, I will share a post on my Facebook account, where I raised this subject, and you are welcome to discuss it with me there, as well as Robert, and others who disagree with me.

    That post reads,

    “From another thread this morning where #RegistrationByParty was being discussed. I’d love to know your thoughts…….

    What I am saying is Democrats need to return home to their own party – and kick the socialists and communists out – so those individuals (socialists and communists) are forced to run on those platforms, forcing the voting public to become educated and understand the choices they are making…..

    We are in this mess because as the socialists and communists infiltrated the Democratic Party, and took it over, rather than defend their party from those who were working to undermine our republic from within, Blue Dog Democrats left, and to a large extent, have taken over the Republican Party. As they have gained more and more traction within the GOP, the socialists and communists have gained more ground – and this circumstance is exacerbated when most graduating from today’s educational system aren’t trained to understand what is taking place, from an ideological / worldview perspective.

    In short, what U.S.S.R. Premier Krusvhev said in the late 50’s is coming to effect, when he stated “We do not need to invade the US, we will destroy you from within,” and a step……one step……in the process of reversing this trend, is registration by party – yes.”

    I am confident that Mr. Scott, who attends the liberal end of the Episcopalian church would not be interested to have those who attend the very conservative end of the Presbyterian church, enter his church once a year and engage in electing his church leadership. Yet, this is what Mr. Scott is advocating for our political parties – who have written platforms members vow to uphold as they select individuals who will work for those principles in local, state and federal offices.

    More next week. Here’s wishing you a productive week.