7 April 2004
Prying open the primary
Oklahoma's primary elections are closed: Democrats vote only for Democrats, Republicans for Republicans. The Oklahoma Libertarian Party, whose membership may be described as "not large," proposed opening their 2000 primary to members of the major parties. The Election Board balked, noting that state law permits them to admit registered Independents, but not members of other recognized parties.
Eventually the Libertarians sued the Election Board; US District Judge Stephen Friot ruled against the party, saying that the law was intended to insure "that the results of a primary election... accurately reflect the voting of the party members." An appeal was filed, and yesterday the 10th US Circuit Court of Appeals reversed Judge Friot's decision in a 3-0 vote.
Nothing in this ruling mandates that the two major parties have to allow crossover voting, but it's a first step towards opening up the primaries, which I think will prove beneficial to third parties in years to come, especially with the general level of dissatisfaction with the Big Boys.