• 41°

The power of the ballot box

Spring 2014 may go down in history as the time of The Great Switch in Rowan County — when scores or even hundreds of local voters switched their affiliation from Democrat to unaffiliated so they could vote in the Republican primary.
It’s just one more sign that the future of the county is much more important to voters than their party label.
The local focus has been on the race for the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. Republicans run so strong here that in many years the commissioners’ race virtually ends with the primary. People concerned that the current board is shooting the county in the foot are not willing to wait until November to let that play out again, so they’re urging as many people as possible to vote in the Republican primary, even if they have to switch party affiliation to do it. Some advocate the switch quietly. Others don red berets and call themselves La Resistance.
North Carolina has a partially open primary system that allows unaffiliated voters to participate in the primary of their choice. The fact that some people are exploiting the openness to influence the Republican primary has prompted talk of having the General Assembly amend the law to exclude unaffiliated voters again. Lawmakers advocating that route risk alienating a substantial and fast-growing block of voters. As of April 1, about 26 percent of voters in Rowan and in the state were unaffiliated. The registration period for this primary ended Friday; it will be interesting to see if that percentage grew.
Republicans hoping to blunt challenges to their power by changing the law may be disappointed. No law can fix what ails the Republican Party, increasingly torn between traditional conservatives and the more militant Tea Party element. The rift has disrupted the county GOP in Rowan and Cabarrus. The actions of commissioners in both counties have upset voters so much that even a closed primary would not stop the revolt. People would change their affiliation to Republican if that’s what it took to keep the county from moving backwards.
Which brings up the issue of state politics. Just as Democrats did for decades, newly powerful Republicans redrew legislative districts to give themselves an overwhelming advantage. In the 2012 elections, Democrats cast the majority of ballots in the state but wound up with a largely Republican congressional delegation and a GOP-controlled legislature with a sizable Tea Party contingent. Those state lawmakers face little competition this year, but it will take more than gerrymandered districts and voter I.D. to quell growing discontent with the imbalance of power.
Corruption is usually associated with financial greed, but elected officials can also be led astray by another kind of corruption — the greed for power and the illusion of complete control. They will answer for that at the ballot box. If voters have to change affiliation to make themselves heard, so be it.

Comments

Comments closed.

Coronavirus

10% of Rowan residents receive first dose; eight COVID-19 deaths reported this week

News

North Carolina State Highway Patrol commander to retire

Education

UNC School of the Arts may go for online learning due to COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus

Greensboro site to administer 3,000 daily vaccine doses starting March 10

Nation/World

$1.9 billion relief bill closer to passage in House

Nation/World

Lady Gaga’s dogs recovered safely

Coronavirus

Advisers OK single-shot COVID-19 vaccine from J&J

Local

Post wins 18 N.C. Press Association Awards

Education

Cooper vetoes bill that would force K-12 schools to reopen

Local

Lanning named Spencer’s fire chief

Crime

Blotter: Feb. 26

Crime

Salisbury, Kannapolis men charged with soliciting sexual acts

News

Racial bias ‘deeply entrenched’ in report critical of Apex Police Department

Nation/World

US bombs facilities in Syria used by Iran-backed militia

Elections

City council again dismisses idea of adding new member, focus now on recommendation to delay elections

Business

‘Let’s make some money:’ Loosened restrictions praised by bar owners, baseball team

High School

Salisbury High bucks historical trend in dominant shutout of West Rowan

Enochville

Garage declared total loss after Enochville fire

Crime

Cooper, N.C. prison officials agree to release 3,500 inmates

Coronavirus

Two more COVID-19 deaths reported in Rowan, six for the week

Crime

Blotter: Man brandishes AR-15, runs over motorcycle at Rockwell-area gas station

Crime

Salisbury man charged with exploitation of minor

Crime

Road rage incident results in assault charges

Local

Dukeville lead testing results trickle in, more participation needed