SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– Think about it. Missouri’s primary election is August 7th, but you have more to choose from than just the candidates.
Missouri uses an open primary system.
When you show up at the polling place, you’ll be given a choice of one ballot to fill out. And for this election, ballots are available for the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, and Constitution Parties.
This means you can personally identify as a Democrat, but vote in the Republican primary election.
Now, this process sounds crazy to some and causes worry of electoral sabotage where voters intentionally crash a party’s primary to nominate a perceived weak candidate for the general election—where Republicans and Democrats dominate the vote.
But there are good reasons for an open primary system. Most obvious is that it makes candidates more sensitive to the views of a wider array of voters than would be the case in a partisan primary (where voters usually declare party ID at registration).
The relative merits and pitfalls of primary systems aside, start thinking now about both the politician and party you’ll support on August 7th.