Recently you printed a letter warning your readers about the closed primary legislation currently under consideration in our general assembly (“Beware of proposed voting change”, April 4, 2019 opinion page). The authors suggest that closing the primaries as HB 26 proposes to do would restrict voting rights.
What is the purpose of a primary election? The purpose of the primary is to allow members of a political party to nominate a candidate to appear on a general election ballot as their designee. Ballot access for the general election is subsequently highly restricted; only the primary winners of each party will appear on the ballot.
If a political party is to support their nominee, both monetarily and in other ways, why shouldn’t the party have a candidate selected who can actually be shown to adhere at least to some degree with the platform and principles of the party? Don’t political parties form their associations because of shared ideology? And, to whom would this ideology be important? It would be important to the members of the party, that’s who.
Northwest Missouri recently experienced a situation in which a sitting county official, elected and serving under the affiliation of one major party, filed for another position under the other major party. Candidate filing fees in primaries are ultimately due to the party committee with jurisdiction (county or state party committee). The second party refused to accept the filing fee of this individual, as seemed their prerogative; this effectively canceled the attempts to become the nominee. I wonder, would your letter writers assert that the local party committee was restricting anyone’s voting rights?
I am in favor of closing the primaries. As with most legislation these days, however, there could be distasteful or even unacceptable amendments hung on the legislation. If that is the case I would withdraw my support for HB 26.
Pamela K. Grow
Phelps County Clerk
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