Thursday, April 29, 2010

Primary Voting For Libertarians

I've been asked about voting at Indiana's Primary Elections May 4 as a Libertarian, so I thought to post some pointers.

Most Libertarians will want to ask for a 'School Board Ballot'. This ballot will not have any partisan 'R' or 'D' voting attached to it, only the non-partisan school board candidates, and any local issues. This is what I will do.

Some Libertarians may be tempted to vote on the Republican or Democratic ballot, for a variety of reasons. Be advised of this: If you pull a partisan ballot, you are making a legal statement. Pulling a partisan ballot legally commits you to vote for a majority of that same party's candidates in the General Election in November.

So, if you take a Republican Primary Ballot in May, and you vote straight ticket Libertarian in November, you will be guilty of perjury, by law.

Also, if someone at the polling place recognizes you as a Libertarian, and you are asking for a partisan 'R' or 'D' ballot, and they challenge your affiliation, you may be barred from taking that partisan ballot, or reduced to casting a provisional vote. Only a member of that party can challenge you, but they can in the interest of protecting their party's private business.

See: Indiana Code 3-10-1-9.

Why is the challenge possible? Why can't people just vote however they like? Some think it is merely rhetorical when Libertarians declare the Primaries to be largely private, partisan political party business. This law is the proof that it is not mere rhetoric. Republicans and Democrats see fit to foist the cost of their business onto all of the taxpayers. They wrote it into the law as a bi-partisan effort.

There is no Libertarian ballot. We conducted our business at our county convention, at our expense. The law also dictates that, but as a matter of principle, that's the way we think it should be done.

So, look into your school board candidates. See if there are local issues. Please vote in the May 4 Primary Election.


Todd S. said...

Why is the challenge possible? Why can't people just vote however they like?

Also pertains to Freedom of Association.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,
Since I voted to select Libertarian candidates as a delegate to the state LP convention, is it illegal to vote in a D or R primary?


Phaedrus Counts said...

I have never heard of perjury to vote. I have never heard of a legal commitment to one party because you voted in a primary. I've never heard of these rules and I've voted in every primary for 29 years.
I don't believe this to be true and I think it is damaging to the process when you send out misleading information.
Voting in a primary may get you tagged but you can vote any way you want in a general election.
Why would you put this out there?

Mike Kole said...

@Jeanette- If one of the people at your polling place recognizes you as a partisan Libertarian, they can challenge your vote, in which case you would have to cast a provisional ballot.

@Phaedrus- Read the Indiana Code. True, it is arcane, true it is not well known, true it is not well publicized. True also, about perjury. Look at your ballot when you vote today.

I have personally been threatened in the past to not cross into one of the other partisan ballots, lest I be exposed to the media and subject to the law. That's because I'm the Libertarian County Chair, and a known quantity to my opposition. Others who do not have public profile can likely get away with whatever voting they like. Maybe not in compliance of the law, but then, it isn't enforced with any rigor. The question is, do we abide by the law or flaut it? That's up to you.

Midwestern Avenger said...

In Indiana you can be charged just for voting for a different party in the general than the primary? WTF

So much for freedom...

This is kind of why I hate the notion of political parties in general. They come up with bullshit like this, rather than just letting vote for whoever we want.