Should you have to declare a political party affiliation to be able to vote in a primary election?
State Senator Mae Beavers believes you should and she has filed legislation, which if approved by the general assembly, would require close primaries.
The bill states that any person registered to vote prior to July 1, 2016, shall declare a statewide political party affiliation at the first primary election in which the person casts a vote which is held following such date. The county election commission shall then add that information to the voter’s permanent registration record.
A qualified voter who desires to declare a statewide political party affiliation prior to a primary election or to alter a previously selected statewide political party affiliation may do so in accordance with state law.
A voter choosing not to select a statewide political party affiliation shall not be eligible to vote in a primary election. "I'm all for that bill. Both parties have crossovers at times. For example, in our county (Wilson) with the Republican party because we're over 100,000 (population) we're having to have precinct elections to elect our executive committee for the party. Because of some people that have been crossing over to vote in the Republican Primary, those people have been able to come in and vote in our executive committee election. That should not be happening. I think it (closed primaries) is a good move. Many other states have it already and it allows just the people within your party to be able to vote in primaries," said Senator Beavers.
The bill has been placed on the Senate State and Local Government Committee Calendar for Tuesday, March 10.
Meanwhile, Senator Beavers said she and State Representative Mark Pody are co-sponsoring legislation to prohibit a relative of an elected official from serving on an election commission. "We actually have that in one of our counties right now although an elected official right now cannot have someone work the election. So it only makes sense that they can't be appointed to the election commission because if you have a relative on it, really they're going to be barred from doing their job anyway on election day simply because they are related to somebody on the ballot," she said.