Voting Access & Practices

LWVAL Action Priority Level I (Highest) - Monitoring and action of highest priority. Major area for resource expenditures.

Click a bill to see sponsor(s), summary (including link to full text), League action and justification for that action, and progress of the bill through the legislative process.

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LWVAL has taken a position on this bill:

thumbs_down_icon.jpgSB15 - Elections, party registration required in primary elections, Secretary of State maintain voters affiliation on voter registration form

Sponsors(s): Senator Beason

Under existing law, an elector may choose which party's primary to vote in [open primary]. This bill would require an elector to register a party affiliation in order to receive the party's ballot in the primary election [closed primary]. An individual must have been registered as a member of a political party for at least 90 days to be able to vote in that party's primary.

This bill would allow an elector who remains unaffiliated to vote only in non-partisan races in a primary.

League Action and Justification: LWVAL opposes SB15. Closed primaries restrict voting participation.

Note: Election laws are generally altered by a political party or its supporters in order to achieve an election advantage or to retain power when party popularity is in decline. The closed primary in a one party state or a one party dominated state (Alabama today) leaves true Independents—those who reject the existing party labels for whatever reason—with two choices: lie about their party choice and register as a party member or sit out the election that will basically determine the general election outcome before the election is even held.

Supporters of closed primaries often argue the open party primary allows crossover voting wherein members of one party vote in the other party’s primary in an attempt to get the weakest candidate nominated and thereby assist their real party’s choice in the general election. There is little sound empirical research evidence that indicates such actions impact election outcomes.

Bill Progress in Legislature:
Read for the first time and referred to the
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[none at this time]

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