Blog Archive

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Primaries, Ballot Access and One Party Rule.

(a letter to the editor of the Mason County News)

I get my back up every two years, around this time.
In Mason, as well as in many other places in Texas, Local Elections are effectively decided in the Republican Primary.
So, in order to enjoy my Constitutional Right to have some small say in who Represents me, in everything from District Attorney to State Senator, State Representative, to the US order to at least feel like I have a say in such matters...I find that I must hold my nose and Vote in the republican Primary.
This has the effect of 1. “Declaring” myself a Republican...(I am NOT a Republican)...and 2. filling my mailbox for the next several years with...essentially...kindling for the woodstove, courtesy of the Texas GOP, and all manner of associated serial mailers.
This has gone on for so long, that even Democratic hopefuls for...say...Sheriff, must run in the GOP Republicans.
To add insult to injury, by so holding my nose, in order to have some small say in local matters, I am thereby denied having a say in Statewide matters...I can only vote in one Primary.

{“Officially, Texas has closed primaries. But in practice, any registered voter may vote in the primary of any single party, as long as they have not voted in the primary of another party. Texas's primaries are closed in a less direct way: once a registered voter has in effect declared his or her party affiliation by voting for the nominees in a party's primary, that person cannot participate in the proceedings (for instance, a runoff primary or convention) of another party. “}-from:(

So if I determine that the Sheriff's race is really important to me, and Vote in the GOP Primary, I cannot make my feelings known regarding who gets the Democratic Nomination for Governor...or Ag Commissioner...or SBOE Member. I am also left out of questions about the Democratic Platform...although, I can have a say in the GOP Platform...which is sort of ironic.
In the past, when I have held my nose, and voted in the GOP Primary, I have voted for what I consider the least of evils, locally...or the in-reality-Democratic Candidate(running as Republican.).
I have then engaged in a little culture jamming on the rest of the for the worst possible candidate for whatever statewide the hopes of screwing up the GOP's numbers.(This is what Rush Limbo called “Operation Chaos”, btw)
This is what passes for “Fairness” in Texas.

Another effect of this convoluted and patently unfair process and system is that, after a while, Local Democrats see no point in putting their name forward.
So the Democratic Primary has become, as a result, a Statewide Election, only...with no local significance.
For's the Slate for State House District 53:
“District 53
Note: Incumbent Harvey Hilderbran (R) is not running for re-election.
March 4 Democratic primary:
No candidates filed.
March 4 Republican primary:
Karen Harris
Rob Henneke
Andrew Murr
Tink Nathan
Wayne Ramsay
March 4 Libertarian primary:
B.W. Holk
Maximilian Martin “

Of the 5 (Five!) GOP Candidates, four of them have identical “Issues” pages on their websites(Tink being the exception...Rara Avis, indeed!)
It is as if they mimeographed their positions directly from the Mothership.
What's a Skunk Throwing Liberal to do?
I considered Writing in my own name for that seat. (Asinus ad Lyram)..but, no...

{“n order to become a write-in candidate in the general election, file a Declaration of Write-in Candidacy with the Secretary of State or your county judge, as appropriate (see chart), no earlier than July 19, 2014, and no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 18, 2014. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 146.025. Your declaration must be accompanied by either a filing fee or a nominating petition signed by a certain number of qualified voters. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §§ 146.023(b), 146.0231, 146.0232. Write-in candidates are not permitted in primary elections, except for the party office of county chair or precinct chair. Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 172.112. For the party office of county or precinct chair, you must file a Declaration of Write-in Candidacy with the county party chair no earlier than November 16, 2013 and no later than 6:00 p.m. on December 16, 2013 (deadline extended under Tex. Elec. Code Ann. § 1.006). Tex. Elec. Code Ann. §§ 146.021, 146.025(a), 171.0231(d), (e). “

The fee for a Write in for Harvey's seat=$750...or 500 signatures are required.

Sweet the service of Hegemony.

Most Republicans I have discussed this issue with see no problem, at all.
After all, they are the only Real it is Right and Proper that there are no Commies and Godless Kenyans on the Local Ballot.(Snort!)
It is implied that I should just knuckle down, and get right with God, and rip off my left arm, or something.
And Vote Republican.
Sorry...but I've had enough. I like Schools and Libraries and Actual be Different...too much to continue to pad the GOP's falling numbers...just so I can vote for the Lesser Evil.
Ergo, I will be casting my Ballot in the Democratic Primary...and just live with the fact that I have all but Zero Representation in Local and Regional Matters.
That said, all of the Republicans who eventually “win” the General Election for these Local and Regional Races, must be reminded that they are required, under the US and Texas Constitutions, to Represent ALL of their Constituents, once Elected.
Not just Right Wingers.
In furtherance of that goal, I would suggest changing the Rules in Texas...from Closed to Open Primaries.
Unless, perhaps, the GOP reckons it cannot win in a fair fight...
Contrary to popular opinion, as well as casual observation, there ARE Democrats...and Greens and Libertarians, and other Non-GOP folks in Texas...including right here, in Mason County.
They deserve...and are Entitled to...Representation, as well.

Ab Irato,