Vote ‘no’ to all those questions on the ballot

Something else that needs to be said before the voting tomorrow (and if you voted early, I’m sorry I missed you).

It’s to answer a question I get a LOT from mystified voters: “How should I vote on those questions on the ballot?”

The simple, easy-to-remember answer is: “Vote NO.” Pretty much always. I would simply say “always,” but of course, there are exceptions to everything.

In this case, the question on South Carolina’s GOP presidential primary ballot are:

  1. Should South Carolina law be changed to give people the right to register to vote with the political party of their choice?
  2. Should South Carolina adopt reforms to increase the independence and accountability of our judiciary by improving transparency and reducing conflicts of interest in the process of reviewing judicial qualifications and electing judges.
  3. Should it be an immediate legislative priority to protect South Carolina’s competitiveness and small businesses by changing state law so that a person’s responsibility for financial damages in a lawsuit is based on that person’s actual share of responsibility?

To address them:

  1. The proper answer to the first one is “HELL no,” but all they offer is “no.” The Republican Party has been trying to close our open primaries ever since I came home to South Carolina in 1987. Sometimes, the Democrats help them. (Remember the “loyalty oath” back in 2004?) I especially love the Orwellian language they used on this one: “give people the right to….” Very Putinesque. If an oppressive power wants to take away your freedom (in this case, to vote in either primary you choose, based on which is offering the best choices), whenever he can, he’ll couch it as giving you a “right.”
  2. The second one isn’t so awful. Its virtues are explored in this editorial in the Post and Courier, headlined, “Manipulative GOP ballot questions deserve ‘no’ votes — even for the good idea.” Note the overall point, though. As the editorial explains, this “taxpayer-funded public opinion poll about sometimes-obscure legislative issues is an affront to the most sacred aspect of our republic: the ballot.” To continue quoting: “The questions aren’t binding, and they don’t reflect the collective wisdom or even priorities of most of our elected officials. They were written by political party hacks, to whom the Legislature has foolishly given the authority to sully our ballots. If party officials get the answers they want, they’ll use them to browbeat legislators into passing laws that were ill-explained. That is to say: The purpose of the questions is to fuel a lobbying campaign, courtesy of S.C. taxpayers.”
  3. The third is an attempt to push legislators to initiate a particular form of tort reform. The editorial mentioned above mentions the efforts of dram shops to escape responsibility for serving too much alcohol.

If you’re for tort reform — this kind or any kind — tell your legislators. But don’t be taken in by this nonsense.

A question such as these on a primary ballot is NOT in any way, shape or form a referendum. Those can only go on a general election ballot. These are just con jobs. And you should feel insulted.




14 thoughts on “Vote ‘no’ to all those questions on the ballot

  1. Doug Ross

    No government funds, facilities, or employees should be used for primaries. Zero. There is no reason that only two parties get to use government resources to choose their candidate. Run a caucus and pay for it. It’s a closed system that prevents third parties from gaining power. Why should my tax dollars pay for primaries for candidates I’ll never vote for?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      No party funds should be spent on primaries. Zero.

      In fact, we shouln’t have “primaries,” unless they are the kind in which everyone votes, with ranked-choice voting, to narrow the field that appears on the general election ballot. And of course, those should be entirely publicly funded.

      Parties can go back to doing what they did before the 60s and 70s — gather in conventions to nominate their candidates. Those candidates could all be offered along with independent candidates on the universal primary. If they don’t make the short list, they don’t get on the ballot. Which encourages party LEADERS to choose wisely. I’d recommend smoke-filled rooms, but I object to the smoke.

      I mean, as long as we’re talking about how things “should be”…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I don’t think they’re offering you that opportunity, but if they did, yes.

      And if they’re asking you to vote to give Bill a million dollars, you should vote against that. You’re not to get the money anyway, and they need to be discouraged from doing that.

      Wait. You said “against same-sex marriage.” No, since this is a Republican primary, you should vote FOR it. That would discourage them more…

  2. Doug Ross

    “If you’re for tort reform — this kind or any kind — tell your legislators.”

    Yeah, that has a great track record of working well. The legislators are mostly lawyers and will only do what benefits them most.

    I voted yes on all.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Which, of course, was a very counter-constructive thing to do.

      But I realize you are immune to reason. You used to not be. You could be talked into things, and were very gracious about it.

      You’ve changed. Now, you will do something to please the political hacks who put those questions on there, even though you despise them and they are clearly manipulating you….

      1. Doug Ross

        “But I realize you are immune to reason. You used to not be. You could be talked into things, and were very gracious about it.”

        Do you have any example of this supposed “talked into things”? I’m baffled what anyone on this blog could say that would change my opinion on a topic…

        Conversely, how about sharing the times you have been “talked into things” and were “gracious” with those who hold opposing opinions… I mean you’ve been presented with a whole host of opinion, facts, logic, etc. on the very simple issue of legalizing medical marijuana ,yet you seem to have a very difficult time absorbing that information and changing your opinion to match that of the vast majority of Americans.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Well, it’s been awhile, but single-payer comes to mind…

          I change my mind a LOT. And there are a lot of issues about which I am undecided. You don’t hear from me on those, though. By the time I write something for publication, my view has been tested and probably shifted quite a bit this way and that way in the discernment process, likely over the course of years.

          When I do make a change based partly on arguments presented here, they usually involve plenty of other factors, simply because that’s the way I decide things. Usually, that factor is a shift in circumstances out in the world.

          With that caveat, I’ll point out this: The Electoral College. I resisted the arguments of lots of folks here on the blog for years on that. But then I said — well, I can’t tell you exactly what I said, because I’m not finding the post in a quick search (maybe one of y’all can find it) — that I had reconsidered. I think my argument was that the Electoral College has been stripped of its usefulness over the years. In the popular American mania for direct democracy (an unfortunate tendency), we have turned the electors into no more than automata. Therefore they can’t protect us from a Trump, the way the Framers intended.

          It was something like that. I wish I could find the post. “Electoral College” doesn’t make it pop up quickly. Even when I add “changed my mind” to the search. All that gets me is the post about when Al Gore changed HIS mind, for some pretty good reasons (and some not great ones)…

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              And hey, the election of 1800 turned out pretty well, huh?

              The incumbent lost, and readily surrendered power to the opposing party, thereby setting a glorious, proud American tradition that lasted from then until… 2020…

          1. Doug Ross

            I wasn’t “talked into” single payer… nothing on this blog convinced me to support single payer. If you go back and check anything I have said about it, I have said that I don’t think it will be any better other than in eliminating the inefficiencies of the current insurance model. It will introduce plenty of other issues – rationing of care, a two tier system where many doctors will not participate because they will be able to find a patient base that will pay more than the public option will;

            Obamacare was just another insurance plan.. Nothing was improved with that in terms of cost or efficiency. It just gave cheaper, subsidized access to those who couldn’t afford it. It wasn’t the gamechanger Obama said it would be. (Still waiting on Joe Biden to follow thru on his promise three years ago to implement it too… )


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