Mt Pleasant News
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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 24, 2014

Are parties that important?

Jun 09, 2014

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

We’re between election cycles, although in Iowa seemingly we are always in an election cycle.

Because the recent primary is still on the mind of some, it is time to weigh in on something I dislike — Iowa’s primary election system.

I’m one of those registered non-party people. I think they used to call us Independents but it was changed to non-party a while ago, probably because non-party is more politically correct.

To vote in the primary, I have to register as either a Republican or Democrat. I could even do that for a day, going in the next day to re-register with the non-party faithful.

Well, maybe I don’t want to do that. If convenience is not involved, people sometimes balk. I do not call this convenience.

Evidently, I am not alone as I read County Auditor and Commissioner of Elections Shelley Barber saying that only about 1,400 Henry County residents voted. That is turnout in the teens. Barber went on to explain that declaring a party hampers turnout.

Ah, she was talking about me.

Voting, they say, is a privilege. If that is true, why not scrap the party rule and offer more voters the privilege?

We are paying a bunch of election workers to sit in boredom for 14 hours. Well, maybe not. In other counties where I have worked, I have seen a lot of knitting being done.

Continuing on my beef on elections, why do we have to elect county officials by party? City council and school board members are not elected that way. Why should county officials be different?

I doubt whether the party label means much. How many GOP or Democratic candidates for county office have even read the party platform? Rarely, if ever does any money from the national or state party flow into the coffers of county candidates.

The purpose of party affiliation, as I see it, is preventing good, qualified people from being elected to office.

Let’s be serious. On the local level, the person should be more important than a party.

However, it has been a couple of decades since a Democrat has been elected to a county office in Henry County. You can’t tell me that there haven’t been some more qualified Democrats than Republicans running for office during that time.

You could say the same thing about a Republican trying to win a county office in Johnson County, although if memory serves me correctly, a Republican did win a supervisor seat some years ago.

It just isn’t right or fair that some people are bent on voting a straight ticket or convinced that membership in one or the other party is a quick ticket to hell.

Running by party for county-elective office isn’t going to change, though, until somebody has the guts and wisdom to see that it is an archaic system and does something about it.

Remember my mention of between election cycles in the first paragraph? Maybe not. Wednesday, the day after the primary, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Bruce Braley ran an attack ad, targeting his GOP opponent Joni Ernst.

Hmmm. Braley didn’t have to spend any of that gold fighting off a primary opponent. Maybe the palms were getting itchy.

Iowa is one of two states that has never elected a female governor, to the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate. Two women are running this year for national office and Henry County voters will be able to vote in both elections.

I think not only will the national spotlight be on Iowa for something other than the presidential caucuses but that female voters will turnout en masse come November. It promises to be interesting.

 

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