As I overhear casual conversations on the subject of voting, it's obvious that some confusion exists about a few important practices. A couple, in particular, merit some clarification.
First, and foremost, is ballot selection by those with "No Party Affiliation" in the primary election, May 8, 2012. Up until four years ago, only the Republican ballot was available to them. Effective four years ago, those registered as "No Party Affiliation" (commonly referred to as "independents") were given the choice of voting either a Republican or a Democratic ballot in the primary election.
That is especially important in Wood County because the registration is approximately 40 percent, each, for the Republican and Democratic parties, while "No Party Affiliation" accounts for roughly 20 percent, or about one of every five voters. That is significant! The above was a statewide rule change made by the West Virginia Democratic Party.
In our state the parties are allowed some freedom as to how they manage the election process, thus their rule changes in some cases, as above, tend to harmonize the process, while others may tend to be confusing.
Four years ago the State Democratic Party commenced having conventions at the county level, for the purpose of selecting delegates to the party's state convention, which in turn selects delegates to the Democratic National Convention. All this to nominate a Democratic candidate for president.
Conversely, Republicans will not have county conventions, but will be allowed to "Vote For Not More Than Nineteen" from a statewide list of 114 candidates for Delegate To The National Convention-At Large. Also, they will "Vote For Not More Than Three" from more than 20 candidates for Delegate To The National Convention-First Congressional District.
Naturally, we Democrats invite those with "No Party Affiliation" to request the Democratic Party ballot in the May 8 Primary. We have some hot races.
Harold D. Brown
EDITOR'S NOTE: Harold Brown is chairman of the Wood County Democratic Executive Committee.