The primary election is rapidly approaching. Some will say, “It is only the primary. The big one is yet to come.” Little do they realize that the primary is as close as it comes to selecting the individual who really represents them.

 Take a minute and think about the process. As structured, the primary is for selection of a single individual from the candidates of a political party. We, the electorate, are forced to “declare” a party affiliation to vote. Yep, checked with the powers that be: “Unaffiliated” voters cannot vote in the primary. You must declare a party. It then follows that we are limited in our selection to party lines rather than selection of the individual, regardless of the party.

This fosters choice based on party affiliation rather than qualifications. Within a given election, I might decide that candidate “Jones,” a Democrat, is more  qualified than his Democratic opponent. As a Republican (or unaffiliated), I will not get a chance to vote for Jones unless the Democrats nominate him in the primary. Then I am left to choose between a less-qualified Democrat and the Republican in the general election.

It’s not a perfect system. Vote anyway. Select on the basis of qualifications for the job, not on clichés, skin color, religion, gender or age. Do research. Vet the candidates. Read. Listen to those who know. Decide who will be in charge of structuring our society in ways compatible with your beliefs.

 Just vote!


— Dr. Richard Warren,