People take most community services for granted until they suddenly have to do without them. One that people think even less about is holding elections. You cast your votes and they count them, right?
Except that if you actually go see an election being held you may be amazed at the incredible, chaotic amount of work that is put in by election officials, the circuit clerk’s office and the army of poll workers.
This is done to make sure the elections are held fairly and accurately and they do an outstanding job.
Mississippi has some sort of elections every year. Union County Circuit Clerk Phyllis Stanford said it costs the county about $10,000 each. That may not be much compared to the entire county budget but it adds up in time and effort as well as dollars.
One election that people are deciding we can do without is the party primary, like the ones we just experienced.
Many people still do not understand how they work and many of those who do, don’t like them.
The party primary technically chooses nominees for the general election but it forces voters to make choices about candidates many know personally from both parties. Sometimes a candidate who might win in the general election is surprisingly eliminated in the primary or primary runoff.
Thirty years ago only Democrats were running so primaries weren’t a problem. Four years from now it may be that only Republicans are running, so it may not matter. But for now, it does.
People I have talked with aren’t quite ready to give up party affiliations, even if those affiliations may not mean what they used to.
But I haven’t found anyone who likes the primary system at this point.
The primaries are required by state law, mandated by Sections 23-15-291 and 23-15-309 of the Mississippi Code.
That means the legislature can get rid of them if they want to, but legislators have shown no interest in doing so.
If you believe party primaries serve no useful purpose, as we do, and want to eliminate them, the solution is to make plenty of noise in Jackson. We, you and all your friends to make our senators and representatives aware of how strongly we feel with a voice sufficient to overcome their own personal interests.