Make your choice, state or local

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Civics teachers and newspaper editors have preached for decades about the need to exercise one’s right to vote.

We cheer when voter turnout is high — a rarity — and lament when a rainy day extinguishes the flame of civic ownership and keeps voters sitting high and dry in their recliners instead of heading to the polls on Election Day.

But a continuing problem with the way that we currently run elections shines a light on a problem that seems to fly in the face of voter duty — sometimes the two-political party system blocks voters from voting.

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It’s unfortunate, but our open, but political-party separate primaries, make voters decide between a Republican ticket and a Democratic one in the August primaries.

When the only candidates running for office are from the same party, well, that situation blocks many voters from ever deciding.

Take, for example, most of the local county supervisor races to be decided this year. The great majority of candidates, at least in Adams County and the surrounding area, are running as Democrats. That’s fine and dandy, unless you’re a voter who cares about the statewide race for Mississippi lieutenant governor. Since both leading candidates are Republicans, a local voter has to choose — vote on “my” county supervisor or vote on the state’s next lieutenant governor.

It’s one or the other in Mississippi. Magnolia State voters must still vote along party lines, rather than voting for the best candidates for the job. Hopefully, one day soon, we can change that system and eliminate yet another reason that voters can turn apathetic and simply not vote.