By Bill Waller Sr., Citizen
The Picayune Item
The election on this past Tuesday once again proved the need for an open primary ballot. One that has all of the names listed in alphabetical order for each office regardless of party affiliation, independent or otherwise. If this had been in place at this election it would have been less confusion and more realistic democratic results. The restraints fixed by party vote prevent the voter from exercising his choice for each candidate. Many voters would choose some Republicans and some Democrats and would not make a 100% exclusive party choice. The party ballot that we are now using prevents a voter from exercising his own individual choice as to candidates for each office.
For whatever reason we have not been able to adopt the open ballot primary, however, with the obvious polarization of races in each of the two parties it makes changes more critical than ever before. Obviously, we need to re-write our election laws including the primary ballot process, as well as moving the voting day to Saturday.
An example of lack of voter participation occurred in Desoto County where they have around 87,000 registered voters and only 23,000 actually voted, or less than 1/3 of those qualified. A large percentage of voters commute to Memphis to work. Commuting to work is definitely in vogue and it is a factor in most all counties. The extent of commuting was not a factor when the original election laws were passed.
If Mississippi is to move ahead economically and remove itself from the bottom of the list on every category then we must be willing to make changes, and I am somewhat confounded by the lack of interest in modernizing our government.
Most Cordially Yours,
WALLER & WALLER
Bill Waller, Sr.