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Letters: Should Tennessee close primary elections?

Johnson City Press • Dec 16, 2018 at 6:00 AM

We asked you with Monday’s Question of the Week if the Tennessee Legislature should change election laws to create a closed primary system. Here are some of your responses.

Closed primaries stop crossovers

Primaries should be closed to those that do not support the ideology of that party.

In all fairness to a democracy or free society, the voters would have to be of unquestionable morality before being allowed to vote in a primary where the party ideology is different than that of their own. History shows us that some of the opposition party members will vote in the opponent’s party to keep the most representative candidate from being chosen. Most of the states that have effectively seceded from the federal government by becoming sanctuary havens have done this.

Political parties control their ideologies and, sometimes, control the primary votes in some states. The people often do not get the popular representative as the candidate chosen to head their ticket. Sometimes the people do not get the candidate of their choice when uncontrolled absentee ballots are “found” in a recount.

The concept of a republic is great. It has worked well. Let’s keep it.

DON WHITTAMORE
Johnson City

Add minor party primaries

Democracy works best when the populace is included. That's the whole point of it. Closing the primary works against that, as do most election-related policies proposed or enacted by the Republican Party in the last few decades. A few years ago as I recall, our Republican-dominated state legislature tried to grab the responsibility of picking our candidates for us, thereby eliminating primary elections altogether. That was just another thing in a long list of national or state initiatives, which includes reducing the number of polling places and voting hours, gerrymandering, so-called voter anti-fraud measures, absentee-ballot harvesting and so on, all designed to rig and/or control the election process. For them it is not about democracy at all, but is instead about winning so that they can maintain power & control (the will of the people be damned).

Of course the primaries should remain open. Why is this even a question? Independents and minor parties with more than two candidates running should also have a primary, which would serve to trim the ballot by offering the electorate a choice of only the most viable candidate from each one. That is a change I would accept.

LARRY DONOVAN
Johnson City

Don’t disenfranchise independents

I am an independent voter, and I do not want closed primaries.

In this time of ridiculously polarized politics it would make it easier to nominate looney candidates without the common-sense mitigation of independents. On top of that, it would disenfranchise my right to vote.

FRED DEAKINS
Limestone

Close them for honesty

Tennessee primaries should be closed, and voters should be required to register by party affiliation instead of requesting the partisan primary ballots on which they wish to vote on the day of elections.

Yes, Tennessee should close primary elections for a more honest state of government.

E.C. WHITSON
Gray

Want to have your voice heard? Send a Letter to the Forum. Authors must sign their letters and include addresses and phone numbers for verification. Letters may be no longer than 300 words and will be edited for grammar, style and length. Send your submission to Mailbag, P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605-1717 or [email protected].

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