Primary system poorly representative
December 5, 2007
Filed under Opinion
Super Tuesday has come and gone, and some of you may be truly excited to have been a part in our wonderful democratic system.
Many of you, like thirsty students at a vending machine, have made a selection, pressed a button and taken whatever outcome you were given, never giving a second thought to the process that gives the outcome to you.
Truth be told, it is not a simple process, and it is one that often begs the question “does my vote really count?” And because of the nature of the primaries, for some states, their vote really does not count; the nominations for president get locked in before they can have their say.
The one problem with the system that leads to all the other problems is this: the form and date of each state’s primary is decided by each individual party per each individual state.
Dividing the dates of the primaries into separate sections causes the votes to be influenced in certain ways that might not have otherwise happened.
For instance, the first primary election of the year was the Iowa caucuses. This means that Iowa, which is composed mostly of wealthy white farmers, is capable of awarding the winning candidate a few free days of positive publicity, despite the fact that in the long run Iowa is worth very little delegates. And then the New Hampshire primaries start and the process repeats.
Then, later in the year, the primaries in states such as New Mexico and Nebraska do not matter, the states are worth so few delegates and the elections take place so late in the race that most of the time the nominees have already been decided despite the fact that the primaries are not over.
On top of that, all primaries before the arbitrary date of Feb. 5 are worth half as many delegates of those after or on Feb. 5. Meaning that if your state decides to have an early primary, your vote is only worth half of what it is supposed to.
Different states mean different systems as well.
In California we may vote for any candidate so long as we register in the party. In some other states, registering is not necessary. You merely pick a party and vote. States such as Florida and Colorado have closed primaries, where you are required to be a member in order to vote in the respective elections.
It is obvious that the system needs to be changed, and either the state governments need to standardize and coordinate the events, or the national government needs to step in and make sure that the votes are collected in a way that accurately decides upon a candidate.