Runoff ballots for everyone

Published 3:10 pm Friday, March 16, 2012

Among the many problems with politics are the manner in which they are administered.

Case in point: It is against the rules to vote in the Democratic Runoff if you didn’t vote in the Democratic Primary.

First of all, I understand the root cause of this rule.

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Democrats don’t want a bunch of Republicans deciding their party’s nominee. I can understand and sympathize with that position. However, Republicans, not having a crossover rule, don’t seem to mind.

Political parties are the root of many evils in this country and influence more decisions than they should. Party affiliation has become as important – if not more in some cases – than qualifications.

That a perfectly qualified applicant would have votes syphoned from him/her based solely on the jungle or farm animal they affiliate themselves with is absurd.

The crossover rule here is not new and it is unique neither to this county, nor this election.

Making Marengo County’s situation somewhat different is that two of the races for political office will be decided in the runoff.

The circuit clerk and probate judge have to serve both Democrats and Republicans daily, but because there was no Republican candidate those voters would be barred from casting a ballot for any candidate.

These voters would be relegated to accepting the best possible candidate elected by their peers rather than voting their conscious for the best candidate available.

Just because these men and women don’t agree with the Democratic Party’s ideals doesn’t mean they don’t care who is elected to serve them. They should have the unencumbered right to vote as they choose.

Granted, we’re only talking about 621 people, but their votes are just as important as the 7,114 Democratic votes launched. Robbing an albeit small segment of our voting population of their rights is unfair to them based solely on their party preference.

The laughable part of the entire scenario is that the rule is practically unenforceable.

Aside from a “rule” written on a piece of paper, there is very little stopping Republican voters from casting a ballot in April’s runoff.

That rule needs to be done away with. And at the risk of playing one party against another, the state Democrats should follow the lead of their Republican counterparts and welcome anyone willing to cast a ballot.

Voter apathy has long been a plague in the United States and handcuffing anyone who is interested in coming out only compounds it and alienates the voters who try.