A misleading solution to a non-existing problem

by Chuck Banks



The GOP in the Missouri House is proposing to pass a law that will continue the trend of smaller and smaller voter turnouts.

Republicans want Missouri to join the small group of states that have “closed” primary elections. That means only people who have registered, six months in advance, with a political party can vote in that political party’s primary election during our August primary. Once again, a misleading solution to a non-existing problem.

The GOP sponsors seem to believe there is a problem of people voting in their oppositions primary to create an easier opponent in the general election. Sound crazy?  It is, and here’s why: there is more going on in our primaries than just narrowing the field of candidates for the general election. The primary election is not a primary for those candidates who want to be township committee members. These races are strictly political, and the candidates are running for a two-year term as committee 

members representing their neighbors on the central committee of the party that they choose, and to vote for them you must select a ballot of that party.  Under the proposed law, you will have had to register as a member of that party six months earlier in order to vote for your neighbor.

People just don’t think about the August primary six months in advance if they aren’t active members of a political party. The largest group of voters are the non-partisan independents who go to the polls as a matter of patriotic duty and responsible citizenship. They don’t want to have to go to the courthouse in February and sign up as a member of either major party. They do their best to know the issues and candidates in time for the election, much less six months earlier.

I believe there are four types of votes; votes for a candidate, votes against a candidate, votes for the opposing candidate and votes against the opposing candidate. In order to have the freedom to vote however I wish, I must be able to select whichever ballot I want, on election day, not six months prior.

This proposal will simply eliminate independents from voting in the primary elections when often there are other issues on the ballot. (Remember Right to Work?) Fewer voices means less participation in our government and poor decisions. We need to make it easier to vote, and important to vote. Every American citizen should feel obligated to vote in every election in which they are a constituent. If there is a ballot issue in April, June, August or November that includes you, you should vote, and the government should make it as easy as possible for you to do so.

Our government is not an elite club for a select few, it is all of ours and all our responsibility.

Charles ‘Chuck’ Banks is the Chairman of the 8th Congressional District for the Missouri Democratic Party, the Vice Chairman of the Wayne County Central Committee, State Party Committeeman, and recreational farmer. He can be contacted at 573-224-3247 or by email at cbanks2819@