Letter-to-the-Editor: Are Nonpartisan Elections Democratic?

Posted on January 3, 2017

Chuck Hughes, Salisbury, N.C.

♦ Pretty much every election includes two parties, Republican and Democrat and at times the Libertarians. Other than the Board of Education (BOE), City Counsel and a few judges, the overflow of candidates running are dismissed in a primary election. This results in a winner being elected by a true majority of the electorate. I know, what about the Presidential election? Agree with it or not, the electoral college carries that load.

Since almost every candidate has allegiance to one party or another, few are truly “nonpartisan”. A field of alleged non-partisan candidates taints the democratic process since, depending on the number of hats thrown into the ring, the winner often gets far less than the true majority of votes cast. For an example, if 3 or 4 candidates run “unaffiliated or nonpartisan” for a school board seat which is almost every election, the “winner” will likely be elected by a minority of the total votes cast. This is not true democracy.

I asked for NC legislation to address nonpartisan registration requirements for the BOE. The NCGA’s response was “The BOE needs to send us a resolution requesting this change.” Well, folks, I have news for Raleigh, this is not a BOE issue; it is a county-wide issue. All public offices from senate to dog catcher should be required to have a party affiliation. For those unwilling to admit they are Rs, Ds, or Ls, let them run as “unaffiliated” if they choose. At least the electorate will know the political roots of each candidate or if they have no roots at all. If they hesitate to acknowledge their party affiliation, perhaps they are in the wrong party.

The county needs to petition the legislature demanding that they make all elections under their control partisan. That my friends, is true democracy.

Before someone jumps in with meaningless comments about me losing my BOE seat, those who know me know why I ran and that I accomplished my purpose.

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