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Nelson, Wolk Express Opposition To Party Registration, Closed Primary

Ste. Genevieve County Presiding Commissioner Garry Nelson and County Clerk Sue Wolk are both adamant in their opposition to proposed bills in the Missouri House that would create closed primaries by forcing voters to choose a party.

House Bills 26 and 922, which received their second of three readings March 26 in Jefferson City, would require voters to choose a political party rather than allowing them to select a ballot of choice when voting in the primary.

The section of HB 26 they particularly oppose reads, “no person shall be entitled to vote in a primary election of an established political party unless he or she is affiliated with such party, as evidenced by his or her voter registration on the 23rd Tuesday preceding any political party primary election, including a presidential preference primary.”

In other words, Missouri voters, like those in several other states, would have to register as a Democrat, Republican or unaffiliated. A Republican could only get a Republican primary ballot and a Democrat a Democrat ballot; there would be no crossing over. Anyone registering as an unaffiliated voter could only vote on referendums, not on individual candidates.

If anyone wished to vote in the other party’s primary, they would have to re-register at least 23 weeks before the primary election.

“It takes away people’s rights,” Nelson said. “We don’t have a democracy anymore.”

“People will be very angry,” Wolk said.

See complete story in the April 3 edition of the Herald.

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