Re: a hit, a palpable hit! (market compared to election)

Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 00:28:33 MDT

Damien Broderick, <>, writes:
> (As an ignorant and provincial Aussie, I'm simply flabbergasted by the
> rumour I hear that in order to vote in the USA, citizens are required first
> to *register* with *one of the parties*, although apparently they're
> allowed to change their vote once inside the booth [and even write in a
> candidate's name, a cool choice not offered here]... Can this be true? The
> mind genuinely boggles.)

In most states you must be a registered member of a political party to
vote in the *primary* election where that party's candidate is selected.
The justification is that Republicans should choose the Republican
candidate, not members of other parties. Some states have been going to
a more open primary policy, however.

In the general election, in the fall, when the actual political offices
are filled, anyone can vote, you don't have to be registered for any
party, and you can of course vote for any candidate.

> Equally boggling to an outsider might be *our* laws penalising those who
> *don't* turn up at the polling booth. You're not obliged to vote, just to
> take your pieces of paper, have your name signed off, and put them--checked
> or otherwise--into the boxes. I rather like this practice, actually. If
> you're going to have the pretence of free and universal representative
> government, you might as well powerfully encourage everyone to confront the
> choices on offer. Those who oppose compulsion can pay the fine, after all,
> a sort of market solution.

That is amazing, that the government has the right to force people to
vote, or at least to pretend to vote.


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