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:
- Should South Carolina law be changed to give people the right to register to vote with the political party of their choice?
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.