GUNTERSVILLE — Former U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) may be retired, but he appears more passionate than ever about fixing the nation's political woes.

During a speaking event Tuesday with the Marshall County Republican Club in Guntersville, Brooks lambasted Republican leadership for failing to adequately address border security, national debt, the economy and other hot-button issues. His solution is for voters to “get smarter” and elect better leaders. However, he said one major hurdle to that is open primaries.

Alabama has open primary elections, meaning anyone, regardless of personal political beliefs, can vote in any party’s primary, unlike some states where voters must register their political affiliation before the election and vote only in their declared party’s primary.

“The Republican Party has the absolute right under the United States Constitution, pursuant to federal court decisions, to determine who gets to participate in the selection of our Republican nominees,” Brooks told 1819 News. “But for reasons that totally baffle me, our Republican Party leadership has failed to fight for those rights.”

Having closed primaries would prevent cross-over voting, where a Democrat votes in the Republican primary, or vice versa, to skew the outcome of the election.

“The best analogy I can give is allowing the Alabama football coaches to determine which Auburn players start and what the play calling will be,” Brooks said.

He pointed to the recent GOP primary for Dale County Commission chairman, where over 100 Democrat votes were cast, apparently to reduce District 3 Commissioner Adam Enfinger's chances of winning due to his stance exposing inappropriate children's books in the Ozark library.

SEE: Over 100 Democrat votes cast in Dale County GOP primary renews call for closed primaries — ALGOP chair Wahl: 'Something needs to be done about it'

“That can make a difference,” Brooks said. “To the extent, there are these block votes of people like that that tempers what our Republicans are willing to do because they have to be mindful that those votes count in the Republican primary too even though they are not us.”

He continued, “I don’t want people who don’t like Republicans choosing Republican nominees,” Brooks said. “We’re not a political party with a belief system if that happens.” He added later in his speech,” We have the absolute right to exclude people who hate our belief system from participating in the selection.”

As the District 5 chair of the ALGOP’s steering committee, Brooks said he had proposed resolutions for party registration that failed due to a lack of votes despite other committee members’ vocal support.

“I am absolutely flummoxed; I am shocked that our Alabama Republican Party steering committee is unwilling to do what it takes to force party registration in the state of Alabama,” he said. “It is an abject surrender to the socialists, to the liberals, to all other anti-Republican voters and permits them to control who our nominees are for public office, which in turn affects how strong our Republicans are in Montgomery or in Washington on the issues that we consider to be valuable.”

Brooks encouraged concerned Republicans to contact ALGOP leadership and their local steering committee chair to push for party registration. Short of legislative action, Brooks said the ALGOP didn’t have the authority to close its primary. However, it could choose not to participate in the primary process and instead hold a caucus.

ALGOP Chairman John Wahl agreed with Brooks on the need for closed primaries and said the party has passed resolutions in the past supporting the effort.

"It is well known that I am very supportive of party registration and closed primaries," Wahl told 1819 News. "We see far too many Democrats voting in our primary elections, and I find it extremely concerning and inappropriate that Democrats are allowed to vote outside their primary and affect the outcome of our nominees. The Republican Party has passed multiple resolutions in support of closed primaries over the last several years. We remain committed to supporting this issue. However, the party does not have the power to make this decision without the state legislation changing state law."

To connect with the story's author or comment, email or find him on Twitter and Facebook.

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.