By Cameron Pierre-Pierre
Who are the rules of an election meant to serve? This is a question I’m sure many people, like myself, who have been following this presidential election are wondering. When talking about anything in the context of an election or voting, the answer should only ever be the people. We have been raised to believe that our government is made by the people and for the people. Over the centuries of our nation’s existence, voting rights have been expanded to include racial minorities, women and anyone over 18 years old. People like Susan B. Anthony and Martin Luther King Jr. (to only name two), put their lives on the line and struggled so that more American citizens could vote. So I was truly offended as a citizen when I realized that these primary processes are meant to only serve the will of the parties.
Here is an example. In New York, if you want to change your party affiliation, you have to change it six months before the primary. Why? Because New York has a closed primary in which only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote. Essentially, and I made this point in a previous post, any person in New York that doesn’t align with the parties and registers as an independent is not allowed to vote in the primary. Voter turnout is already fairly low in this country, and we have a primary election system in some states where certain people can’t vote at all. There is something deeply troubling to me about that. Political parties are not in the constitution, but the right for citizens to vote most certainly is.
I think it is time to get rid of the closed primary. For the foreseeable future we are stuck with these two frankly horrible political parties. The average American should be able to vote in any election, for any candidate they like, regardless of party affiliation or prior political beliefs. The people of the United States are not tools to be used for the interest of political parties. The parties are nothing more than a framework we as citizens use to organize our politicians. So for the time being, play by the rules, and use this time to vote for people who will create better rules so that we may have a better country.