Readers React

Our readers react to recent stories or current events:

Caylah Coffeen’s column on potential alternatives to our current way of conducting elections, Options to update our system of voting, drew this response from Adam Lea of Henagar:

“First, I appreciate your willingness to think outside the box and ask hard questions.  I admire the search for a better way with the understanding that there may not be one. I appreciate that you are open to finding one or not finding one, as the case may be.

"With regard to primaries, they are party functions where the members of a party choose the party's nominees. Taxpayers should not be paying for primaries. If the Republican and Democrat parties agree to cover the bill and agree to a set of workable requirements, I have no issue with the state administering the party nominations through our voting system. …

"From there, it makes perfect sense that only party members vote in a primary to select that party's nominees. What other organization allows people that don't belong to the organization to select its leadership? I can't think of any. Churches don't let independents that identify mostly with Christianity vote in church matters or for church leaders. Your local community clubs do not either. Political parties should be no different.  Each person should make a choice if they want to join a party or not and each party should have the ability to say only party members can vote in the party's nominating primary.  Many other states have party registration.

"The biggest problem with ranked-choice voting is uninformed and apathetic voters. I wish it were not this way. Let's just take the State Auditor's race or the Secretary of State's race. What percentage of voters voting on those races know something about those candidates? I would bet that not many do.  Now we are asking these same voters to not only pick one, but to rank them in order of preference. … I often get pushback from people who consider this as insulting the voters. I'm not insulting voters; I am just telling the truth. Take a recorder down the precinct (pick any of them) and start asking questions of people that come out about who they voted for and more importantly, why. You will get a lot of "I don't know" and "I like him/her" without them being able to really explain why they made those choices. … I understand why most people don't want to invest that much time in their own research. General elections are a little easier because you have a party baseline to go off of and typically only two major candidates in the running. Campaign promotions are pretty much worthless because most of them lie and everyone tries to pretend to be what they think voters want. Some of them are what they claim to be and some of them are just a beer commercial with hot chicks, trying to make you buy a product based off of things that aren't true.

"Positional voting is problematic for a lot of reasons. It is a direct violation of one man, one vote in my opinion. Some people's votes would count more than others, depending on how one prioritizes the candidates. It is even more complicated than ranked-choice voting, as you get into issues where people like one candidate, can tolerate a second and despise the other two. Do you vote for a #1 and then a #4 and leave two and three blank so no one gets those votes? Can you leave off a candidate you don't want to grant any points to? These are ideas that would work great in a party convention to select nominees, but would be a complete and total disaster to implement in primaries or general elections. We would be counting and recounting votes for months. Allegations of fraud would skyrocket, because it would be impossible to verify the number of points someone won. As you mention, you could have a candidate that few wanted as their first choice, but the candidate ended up winning because they were less objectionable. We would end up with more moderate and less offensive candidates and our country would be run completely by bureaucracies. That is a major problem now that would only get worse. We have to structure elections for the engagement level of the electorate we have, not the one we want to have.

"A simple general election runoff system is better than the current plurality winner, ranked-choice, or proportional voting systems. It ensures all office holders receive a majority of votes to hold office. In one-party states, it also allows a real ability for a third party to win. Instead of having to win a plurality in the election, you merely need to get into the top two. From there, the field resets. …

"If you really want to change to a system with more than two viable parties, the way the President is chosen has to change. These other methods might get a few minority parties in Congress and in state offices, but the two-party system is still going to realign because of the Presidential system. Pluralities win states, so you have to have third parties or independents winning states and throwing elections to the House of Representatives. From there, you would need significant third parties to start affecting the outcome of the Presidential race. I'm not sure this is possible without completely changing the way we elect the President, which drives the two nationwide party system. That is something that should not be approached lightly, as we could easily end up worse off than we are now. Maybe we should be satisfied with opening up ballot access and getting all areas more competitive and honest in state and local races.  A state like Alabama might have two center-right options and one like California might have two center-left options, understanding that more than two nationally competitive parties is not likely to happen under our system.

"Thank you for thinking outside the box, even though we probably disagree on many of the points in the article. I always appreciate a good faith attempt to make things better and a willingness to consider all reasonable ideas.”

Dawn Ray of Shelby County is advocating for Mo Brooks in the upcoming June 21 runoff with Katie Britt. She writes:

"The real question we have in the race for Alabama’s US Senate race is - Do we want a tough proven visionary as is Congressman Mo Brooks, or do we want a “purple” senator financed with many millions of “purple” Senator Mitch McConnell dollars.

"Mo Brooks has the top national conservative ratings for nearly every category of conservativism, financial, faith-based, military, gun rights, and the rest of our Constitutional Rights. Mo has tremendous guts and has shown he is not afraid to articulate issues that no one else dares. That, to me is an authentic Alabamian.

"Katie Britt has never held any public office and is the chosen candidate, for the compromise at any cost Washington insiders. She will be “squishy” on conservative issues when daring to represent Alabamians because she will belong to Mitch McConnell, who she could not win without. I do not want another “purple squishy” senator representing me in Washington. Instead, I want a real conservative speaker and innovator in Mo Brooks, who will spread our values nationwide."

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