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I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Top Two Primary vs Voter Apathy

In today's Tri-City Herald, the FAST FOCUS question was: "What are your thoughts on our top two primary system?"

My personal view is there is nothing inherently wrong with the the system. The problems arise when we factor in voter apathy. If the majority of people actually voted in my district, I hazard a guess that the top two winners would not both be Republicans.

RL Guillen of Kennewick writes: "The top two primary system ... was reinstated by former Attorney General Rob McKenna (R) ...  to enable Republicans to successfully hijack everyone's right to vote for anyone other than Republicans in November! Republicans knew that few people show up to vote at primaries and that by reinstituting a top-two primary system would help them to force voters to vote only for Republicans!"

A true accounting of the system as it functions in eastern Washington State, I'm sure. However, does it need to be so? If the Republicans are actually the majority of the those motivated to participate in democracy - as it appears to be - why is that? Should the system be thrown out because Democrats and other non-Republicans can't be bothered?

Guillen continues: "It is shameful that voters have not learned the lesson that your right to vote is important, and that you need to actively exercise that right. Because lethargic voters did not show up at the primary election, today eligible voters are being forced to vote only for two Republicans who have no interest in the real needs of the people in the 4th Congressional district they will represent."

It is shameful and appalling. That the future of the 100,000 registered voters of Benton County will be decided by around 20,000 people - as I have written about previously - is shameful. But it is not the fault of the system, not does it make the system partial to Republicans.

The fault is in us - the voters. I had great hopes for this latest primary. The Republicans seem to be out to alienate and disenfranchise - and even demonize - so many of the American people - women, African Americans, Latinos, the poor and the middle class. All of these have been affected negatively by the words and deeds of today's Republicans. 

So, I had great hopes. I felt sure many of these people would rise up against people like Didier. Unfortunately, things are much worse off than I thought. Online - on social media - there is a big push to get people registered. I feel, though, that voter registration is not the issue. The real issue is the actual act of voting. If only 37% of the registered voters are actually voting, what good does registration do? 

In the end, the enemy of democracy is not the top two primary or even party politics, it is US.

I welcome your contributions to this conversation.

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