Republicans in the legislature are hell-bound and determined to mess with our election system. Most of their bills are designed to restrict access to the ballot box and add layers of bureaucracy to the process. It’s pure politics, bad government and contrary to the supposed small-government beliefs of the GOP.
However, if they are serious about saving taxpayers money and making our electoral process stronger, they should eliminate or reform our system of “second primaries”, better known as “run-offs.” In recent years, run-offs have attracted abysmal turnout and cost the state hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars. In the vast majority of cases, the winner of the primary also won the run-off. Even if the second place candidate won the primary, is it really a reflection of the voters’ wishes if the turnout is only 4%?
In 2012, the run-off turnout was 3.6%. In 2010, it was 4.5%. And in 2008, it was a whopping 1.8%. Is that really a good use of our money?
Run-offs are a leftover from our so-called one-party history. In reality, there were two parties within the Democratic Party, the conservatives and the moderates. Back then, run-offs were actually the general election since Republicans could not win in November. Obviously, that’s no longer true. Isn’t it time we make our election system reflect the realities of our politics?
Thanks to Jason Baker for input on voter turnout.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >