How to use primary crossover voting to help break the two-party stranglehold on elections
December 14, 2011
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The Iowa caucuses are coming up on January 3, kicking off what promises to be a fun and long Republican primary process. Now most people assume that if they’re not a loyal Republican, they either cannot or should not vote in a Republican process. However, neither is true. In most cases, you can either vote in a Republican primary even if registered with another party, or can quickly switch party affiliation just before the primary.
As for the ethical aspects, crossover voting is not only defensible, it’s actually a duty of anyone who wants to rescue our democracy from the two-party system. By splitting the electorate and candidates into two separate groups, the Democratic and Republican cartels keep themselves in power and exclude third party candidates from competing, due to the need to avoid the lesser of two evils (i.e. the other party’s candidate). By frustrating this purpose during the primary process, independent voters can trick the parties into choosing candidates that do not have the loyalty of their bases, forcing them to break up.
For example, let’s assume that there’s a hypothetical Moderate Republican who appeals to many independents and Democrats, but lacks appeal with the mainstream of the Republican party because he does not ascribe to party views on certain “sacred issues.” If enough Democrat and independent voters cross over and vote in the Republican primary, they can elect Moderate Republican, choosing the candidate that most Americans – not most Republicans – want to see take on Obama. With no power to stop the people as a whole from exercising their votes together, the Republican party would be forced to break up, and likewise with the Democratic party.
So with that in mind, let’s look at the 2012 Republican primary calendar. The below information contains the early primaries and information about how you can cross over and vote.
- Iowa caucuses (Jan 3): you can register as Republican at the door, vote, and then switch your affiliation back (according to this Reddit post, which is admittedly not the greatest of sources but I can’t find any other).
- New Hampshire primary (Jan 10): According to this discussion (again not the best of sources) undeclared/independent voters can vote in any primary, but registered Democrats cannot vote in the Republican primary. The deadline to switch affiliation was 10/14 to switch. So if you’re undeclared, you can still vote, otherwise no. Lesson: if you’re in New Hampshire, it only makes sense to register as undeclared.
- South Carolina primary (Jan 21): South Carolina is an open primary, which means all registered voters of any party can vote. But the deadline to register, if you’re not already, is December 21, seven days from today. So if you’re not registered, better get on that.
- Florida (Jan. 31): Florida is a closed primary, so you must be registered as a Republican to vote. According to this page, the registration deadline is Jan 3. Get registered as a Republican or you’ll be disenfranchised.
- Others: That’s all the time I have today, so check this list of primaries. If there’s a check in the “open” column that means registered voters of any party can vote. I assume semi-open usually means independents can vote, but Democrats can’t.
So get out there and exercise your rights, people. Ron Paul is popular with crossover voters, but there’s no reason that you have to choose him. You can vote for Bernie Sanders, Ralph Nader, Stephen Colbert, whatever. Just get out there and screw with the Republican cartel as much as possible.