As reported, attorney Tony Gill — until Tuesday, the Oahu County party chairman — and other Dems are not happy that voters can select the ballot of any party regardless of party affiliation.
Gill argues that primaries are “nominations,” not “elections.”
Should Gill and his party prevail, it seems that only Democrats would be able to vote for Democrats in a primary, Republicans for Republicans and so forth.
That sounds — well, pretty undemocratic.
It’s not like Democrats are hurting at the ballot box. They hold all four congressional seats and the governorship and totally dominate both chambers of the Hawaii Legislature.
The trend in local elections is actually moving away from party politics, not toward it. Other important races — for county mayors, councils and prosecutors and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs — are all nonpartisan.
Meanwhile, the number of people who call themselves “independent” is on the rise. What’s the use of joining a party when gridlock in Washington is as bad as it has ever been?
It’s understandable that some Hawaii Democrats are worried that some members don’t adhere to the party line.
Democrats tried to derail Laura Thielen‘s state Senate race last year because she missed an internal party deadline, though it seemed the concern was more the fact that she once worked for a Republican governor. (Thielen won.) The party also objected to Chris Manabat’s state House race because he was not certified by the party when he ran. (Manabat lost.)
There are also prominent Democrats that oppose gay marriage, though the party’s platform embraces it.
Some Democrats have also never been happy with the fact that moderate-to-conservative Democrats like Ed Case have sometimes won primary contests, probably with the help of some Republicans. The party could very well see hotly contested primaries in August 2014 for governor and Congress.
Ironically, the primary lawsuit comes in a state with the lowest voter turnout rate in the nation. Telling voters that they can’t vote for whom they want to is not likely to inspire greater participation in civic affairs.
So, yes, let’s change Hawaii’s primary election, but let’s do it this way: Let voters pick any candidate for any office regardless of whether they are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, nonpartisans or whatever.
It’s the democratic way.
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