“Perhaps the best solution is for Indiana to do away with its convoluted primary system and treat every political party equally.”

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This contribution is from 2015 in the Crawfordsville newspaper, which at first glance appears to be a Tom-May-Free Zone.

How do they survive up there?

The author Pickerill, a Republican at the time, subsequently switched to Libertarian. In 2015, he was mad as hell that crafty conniving “blue” Democrats could easily invade the inner Red Light sanctum, but the point is if there’s no such thing as a “registered Republican,” there aren’t any “registered Democrats,” either.

And, if this depiction is correct, there’s nothing a party chairman could do about such an incursion or a deathbed conversion, apart from mounting the bully pulpit.

I’d consistently been under the impression that a few years back, when Dave Matthews was the chairman of the Floyd County GOP, and Scott Blair sought to run for city council as a Republican, Matthews “refused” Blair, who has twice been elected as an Independent.

Could Matthews have done that? Was it just a clever ruse? Did Matthews strongly discourage Blair, while stopping short of deploying legalistic weaponry he didn’t actually possess? 

Beats me. If you’re reading and can provide clarity as to a party chairman’s position in a situation like this, please let me know.

There’s no such thing as a ‘registered Republican’, by John Pickerill (Journal Review)

Since being elected Montgomery County Republican Chairman in 2013, I’ve heard a lot of people claim how they’ve been a “registered Republican” for a number of years. That always puzzles me. According to Indiana state law there’s no such thing as a registered Republican (or Democrat or any other party for that matter). When you register to vote you aren’t asked which political party you belong to. And there is no mention of “registered Republican” in the Rules of the Indiana State Republican Party. So if there’s no such thing, then how do we know who is allowed to vote in a Republican primary election that decides who the Republican nominees will be in the general election? And how do we tell who is allowed to file as a Republican candidate in that primary election?

The answer is, we don’t. Anyone can vote in a Republican primary and anyone can run as a Republican candidate, even people who are radical left-wing Democrats or otherwise hostile to the principles of the Republican platform (protecting people from government interference in their lives, decreasing regulations and taxes, reducing government spending, promoting free market solutions, supporting the right to life of the unborn, supporting gun rights.)

According to Indiana law, voters are affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic Party based on how they voted in the last primary election. If you cast a Republican ballot the last time you voted in a primary election, you are automatically affiliated with the Republican Party. It doesn’t matter even if the voter is a Democratic Party officeholder. If he cast a Republican ballot last time, Indiana considers him a Republican.

At this point you might be asking yourself, why is someone who is so obviously a member of a different political party even allowed to cast a Republican ballot in the first place? Can just anyone cast a Republican ballot at a primary? The answer is yes, pretty much. On primary election day, the poll workers are given a list of every registered voter (Republican, Democrat, or otherwise) for their precinct. State law says if a person’s name shows up on that list they have a right to vote in the Republican primary, unless the voter is challenged by another Republican voter from that same precinct.

So that challenge can stop them from casting a Republican ballot, right? No, not really. That voter can go ahead and vote in the Republican primary as long as they swear (cross-their-heart-and-hope-to-die) that they voted for mostly Republican candidates at the last general election, and also intend to vote for the Republican candidates at the next general election. But it is, of course, impossible to ever prove if the challenged voter was telling the truth or not.

So it’s pretty easy for someone to fake their party affiliation. And so it’s pretty easy for anyone to run as a Republican in a red county or district, to trick enough Republican voters into thinking they’ll hold office like a Republican, and then once they get elected, to do the very opposite. When a candidate calls himself or herself “Republican” it doesn’t mean a whole lot these days. It certainly doesn’t give a voter much information about the politics of the candidate. All it really means is the candidate checked the “Republican” box on their declaration-of-candidacy form.

So how do we fix this broken system? Well, it’s interesting to note that Indiana law only dictates party affiliation for the Republican and Democratic parties. All other political parties decide party affiliation for themselves. Their own party rules determine who is allowed to vote in their process for selecting their nominees for the general election, and who is allowed to file as one of those candidates. Perhaps the best solution is for Indiana to do away with its convoluted primary system and treat every political party equally. Maybe then the Republican brand will mean something unique again. Until then, it will become more and more like the Democratic Party every year.

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