Adam’s Blog

That’s my thing, keepin’ the faith, baby. –Joe Friday

The Right to Be Absurd

Posted by Adam Graham on March 28, 2007

My State Senator, Kate Kelly certainly excercised that right in her piece on New West:

Senate Democrats and state party officials are standing united against a misguided attempt that would result in an invasion of political privacy of Idaho voters.

Senate Bill 1244, introduced in the 11th hour of the 2007 legislative session, would require voters to register a party members before a political primary election. Although voters would have the option of registering as an “independent,” they would then be prohibited from voting in either party’s primary election.

First of all, Senator Kelly mischaracterizes the bill. Independents would be able to vote in either party under S 1244. Secondly, the only right to political privacy you have is the right to cast your secret ballot. There’s no constitutional right for people not to know your party affiliation. Sorry, most states have party registration.

The worst thing about Senate Bill 1244 is that it turns every Idahoan’s political preference into a public record; instantly accessible to any employer, telemarketer, neighbor, or even religious clergy.

I’ve never heard of a case of a pastor or employer dashing off to the county courthouse to find out where a potential employee or parishoner has registered to vote. We’re not talking about a publicly searchable database of voters where you can go and find out where someone stands. Tis will be available on the same level that voter information is now.

The fact is, the government already knows most of us better than some of our own family members. The government knows what kind of car we drive and how much it cost. It knows our age and birthday, our height, weight, hair and eye colors. It knows what we do to earn a living, how much we take home to our families and how our financial investments fared. It knows where we live and how much our homes are worth. Much of this information is not only available to the government itself, but the government also makes it available to anyone who asks for the information.

The point is this: the government already has enough information about each and every one of us. The State of Idaho does not have a burning “need to know: which political party we choose to affiliate with.

But the political parties to do. Without party registration, really our entire primary system is a farce and a joke. If, as a three-time elected Republian Precinct Committeeman (twice in Flathead County, once in Ada County), attendee of Lincoln Day dinners and volunteer for Republican candidates, my vote can be cancelled by IdaBlue trying to get the weakest candidate or Mountain Goat Report trying to get the most liberal Republican nominated than we might as well give up political parties because they’re little more than an absurd facade when the people voting can belong to another party and simply come over to create havoc.

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