Today is a sad day for me. While thousands of my fellow New Yorkers will participate in the process of selecting their candidate of choice, I can’t join in the fun. You see, I am registered as an “Independent.” And as such, I am excluded from participating in the primary election in my state. This is called a “closed” primary.
Many other states have what is called an “open” primary. In open primaries, voters can vote for candidates from either party. There are drawbacks to this, but at least it allows moderates and independents to participate in the selection process. (Personally, I like New Hampshire’s system the best.) Allowing moderates and independents to participate is – in my opinion – good for Democracy, as the archaic alternative does little but encourage staunch partisanship. The rest of us get to choose between “the lesser of two evils” after the candidates are selected for us.
Now, I could have switched my affiliation in advance and been able to vote for the candidate of my choice. And being the conscientious voter that I am, I actually looked into this possibility. The problem is, I had to change my affiliation back in October – nearly five months ago. At that time I was torn between candidates from opposite parties. Once I finally made up my mind and contacted my local board of elections to change my affiliation, I learned that I was too late. By about three months. (Think of how much things had changed during those three months!)
That being said,I hope the rest of you exercised your right to select a candidate and voted in your primary elections today (if your state had them). I’m at your mercy.