We created the primary system not that many decades ago because before that, we collectively decided that party bosses picking candidates in “smoke-filled back rooms” was a threat to democracy. It was a more innocent time.
Is there any electoral system anywhere that doesn’t have some form of registration? To prevent people from voting twice, etc.?
They’re not. You don’t have to be a declared member of any party to be registered to vote in the general election, though it varies state by state what the rules are for voting for a candidate in the primaries (many states have closed primaries, while others like California and Washington have open top-two “jungle” primary runoffs between all declared candidates).
However, in the US it’s overwhelmingly likely that specific racial, ethnic, and age groups will vote for Democrats – young voters are broadly speaking more liberal than older ones, and African American voters typically back Democrats by >90% — because Republicans are pretty blatantly outwardly hostile to their interests. So, if you can disenfranchise those groups with “clever” legislation like voter ID laws or closing poling places under false accessibility pretenses, you can ruin Democrats’ chances of winning, and you can hide behind the paper-thin plausible deniability that you’re not actually specifically targeting Democrats, you’re just ensuring election integrity.
(This excuse tends not to fly in actual court, but that’s why Republicans stole a Supreme Court seat in 2016 and were desperate to win the presidency that year, so that appeals will reach an even friendlier court than the one that trashed key provisions of the Voting Rights Act.)
Not enough typos, air quotes, or weird capitalization.
It’s a state by state thing.
It’s to prevent massive voter fraud, obviously. /s
Bottom line is the right to vote isn’t guaranteed by the Constitution. It just can’t be denied based on race, gender, or religion. Doesn’t mean other reasons can’t be concocted.
especially if you can read the subtext “poopie-face Michael Cohen”
trump still isn’t sold on “nazi = bad”
I am registered as a resident of the city I live in. As a citizen older than 18 years I’m automatically eligible as voter - I don’t need a separate voter registration. I even get a notification before an election via mail.
See Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Italy etc. most western european countries use this system. Citizen are registered for tax, voting and healthcare. You have to vote at your designated polling station, there are lists, you vote, your name is crossed out. No special voter registration required.
All that’s very similar to Canada as well.
Maybe it’s just semantics, but to me this counts as “some form” of voter registration. You go to a polling station, you vote, your name is crossed off the list. Even if you didn’t get on the list via a specific “voter registration” process, you’re still a registered voter on a list.
Hm. I would recommend against being hired by Trump.
Thanks for the explanation but I’m still confused. Maybe it isn’t mandatory, but people do register as a Democrat, Republican or independent, right? Just the fact that it’s an option at all seems bizarre to me, mostly because it seems inconsistent with the notion of the secret ballot.
I gotta say, that was pretty funny.
The difference is I’m automatically eligible to vote in state and federal elections. It’s a constitutional right. In the USA you can be a citizen but not eligible to vote because you didn’t register. Historically this process has been used to create barriers and disenfranchise certain groups.
OK, that is indeed a meaningful difference between the two approaches.
Party membership is optional and people can and do change affiliations. A good third of the country stays independent. It really only has to do with who gets selected to be on the ballots and not who is actually elected during the general election. Each party puts up their slate of candidates who have been selected via a primary or caucus process.
However, since political parties are not government institutions and are privately funded, their bylaws mandate registration in order to participate in their primary or caucus process (as well as internal elections, leadership, fundraising, etc.). In order to vote in the primaries party registration is required.
Some states have passed laws allowing open primaries which means anyone can vote in either Republican or Democratic primaries without prior registration. However, it’s still an either/or choice - you can’t vote in both. Then you have California’s “jungle primary” where the top 2 candidates that receive highest number of votes are selected regardless of party. This leads to strange situations where only Democrats are on the ballot in the general election for example.
This is all about who gets selected for the ballots. It really has nothing to do with the actual election to which anyone can vote for anyone regardless of party. But generally people usually vote in line with their affiliation.
Each party has slightly different processes (Democrats have super delegates for example while Republicans do not), and every state has different laws governing primaries, voter registration, party affiliation, and ID requirements. Colorado, for example recently switched from closed caucuses to an open primary after long lines kept people from participating in 2012. While the state can regulate them, the primaries are still funded and run by the parties themselves.
And these are the folks we trust to run the country?
In the county where I live, nearly 79% of voters registered as Democrats (and more registered as unaffiliated than Republican) for the 2016 election, and this was nearly 85% for the 2018 primary. However, county-level offices are partisan, which means that the Democratic primary effectively is the election, for the county government. If you aren’t registered as a Democrat (I was unaffiliated until 2016), a large portion of the primary ballot is blank (maybe a “yes/no” on a couple of bond issues etc.), and in the general election you basically get to rubber-stamp whoever made it onto the ballot as a Democrat.
I recall reading something similar here on the BBS, except it was about the Republican party being dominant in that place (somewhere in WV).
The rational reason is for primary voting. The same system is used for voting in primaries as in general elections, but you don’t want Democrats voting in the Republican primary or vice versa. So only registered Democrats get ballots for the Democratic primary, etc.
Of course, people game the system anyway, and you get Republicans registering as Democrats just to vote for the worst Democrat in the primary, so why not do away with it?