Letters to the Editor

Posted: Thursday, September 05, 2002

Only members of political party should pick party's candidate

I was disappointed to read Chantel Lillard's letter regarding voting. If she had taken the time to be informed, she would not have been surprised by the primary election rules (known as a "classic open primary"). I commend her for going to the polls, but her reaction was less than responsible.

Even more disappointing, however, was the grumbling and whining by many older voters, including some candidates.

The only purpose of a primary election is for the members of a political party to select the candidate they want to represent them in the general election. If you disagree with the philosophy of a party, or don't care enough to join one -- don't gripe about who they nominate to represent their views. Who is better qualified to select a candidate to represent them than the involved members of a particular party?

Should Republicans tell Democrats (or Greens, Libertarians, etc.) who to nominate? Of course not, and the U.S. Supreme Court rightly agrees.

And, Chantel, you get a second chance Nov. 5. Don't quit. Join a party, get involved, support a candidate. Vote -- use it or lose it.

Mike Tauriainen


Primary forces nondeclared voters to conform to 'Political Machine'

I want to sue!

I am very upset over the closed primary elections this year. I would rather refer to it as "an Alaska election fraud."

First and foremost, I am registered as an "undeclared" voter, and that means I have a choice. Does it not? Doesn't that mean that I have the choice of whom I would like to vote for? If it did, the state has now taken that right from me. I was denied my freedom of choice. If I wanted to vote for two Democrats, three Republicans, and two Green Party members, my vote would and could not be counted. Is that democracy, or is it political law?

I was denied my right to choice and free thinking. Because I wanted to vote "outside" the political lines, I was considered an incompetent voter. I could not be counted on to conform to the new laws that stated quite plainly that I had to join or pick a party to vote.

The definition of an undeclared, or nonpartisan, voter is that we are choosing not to join a particular party because of a belief in the individual candidate's views, not the overall views of the party in which the candidate is affiliated. Because of this law, we "nonpartisan/undeclared" voters are forced to vote in a party in which we don't believe, just because we want to vote for an individual and what they believe. We may not vote for those candidates with whom we agree simply because their names reside on a different ballot, and we can only pick one specific party's ballot.

There is no ballot for the nonpartisan/undeclared voter. If there were to be, it would include the names of everyone running, in our respective districts, for this election. Those of us who choose not to conform are forced, by this method of electing, to join parties with whom we do not share views, or to simply avoid voting so as not to be forced to do something against our will.

I was told, when I went to vote, that there was no ballot containing all of the candidates for my district for this election. There were ballots separated by party affiliation, and we had to "pick" the party we wanted to vote in. I thought that the purpose of elections was to reflect "the will of the people." Instead, this election reflected the will of the "Political Machine," forcing me to conform to "The Machine's" standards.

I feel as though I have been chewed up and spit out by The Machine as a defeated voter. I also feel as though the state has misrepresented the voters, by forcing them against their will to vote against their conscience.

I have researched this issue on the Internet, and I have found that our country allows for a suit to be brought against the state of Alaska and the Legislature to provide for a free election process if I feel as if my rights have been infringed, and I do!

I don't believe I have moved to California, but I am beginning to feel as though Californian views have somehow filtered their way into our back yard, much like ground water contamination. If we wanted the laws of a different state, why wouldn't we move there? I refuse to understand the constitutionally abusive way that the state of Alaska and the legislators have railroaded the voters into a biased election.

A message needs to be sent to the state and the legislature that the voters will not swallow this horrible misrepresentation of what the people want.

I, for one, have been in love with Alaska and the people who live here since I first came here. We must keep not only our ground water, rivers and streams clean, but our politicians as well.

Alaska has the most diverse people, countryside and resources in the world, and we must fight to keep it that way, and if that means we must remove people who don't understand or care from the government, then I believe that we must do so in a free election.

This must be the most pitiful turnout in Alaska's election history, and it is a direct result of the biased and closed primary election. Considering the high level of patriotism stemming from the 9-11 incident, this election turned out quite poorly.

I believe that this election should be redone as a free election, as an election of belief and ability instead of malicious conformity. If we continue to conform our views to one group we will lose governmental diversity and new ideas. When one stops learning one begins to die. As a respectful and loving son I chose to vote for my father for state Senate. This required of me to vote for only Republicans. This is an injustice to my constitutional rights. Considering the personal diversity of Alaska, would it not be wise to also have diverse governmental representation instead of fixating on one or another group of politicians with their own separate views and motivations? I believe the assimilation of separate views and opinions into one government will keep the very much individual voices of the people and their representatives alive. Much like the gene pool, without diversity we will surely perish.

Steven F. VinZant


No one but members of party should pick party's candidate

Let's see now. If the editors of the Peninsula Clarion had their way, Democrats should be given the potential to determine who the Republican, Libertarian, Independent or _____________ (fill in party here) candidates would be. And Republicans should be given the potential to determine who the Democrat, Libertarian or ______________ (fill in party here) candidates would be.

The Clarion's editors presume that because there are some who are dissatisfied with closed primaries, the system should be changed. The editorial uses the word "change," but in the context of editorial's entirety it is plain that closed primaries should not be an option.

The argument presented by the Clarion is that 51 percent of registered voters in the state are not affiliated with a recognized political party. They are nonpartisan or undeclared. So what? What about the majority that wanted closed primaries. They don't count now?

The editorial goes on to "theorize" that "None of the organized political parties accurately reflect most Alaskans' individual ideologies." In saying this, they are making the "back door" assumption that the unorganized political parties, nonpartisans and undeclared, do accurately reflect most Alaskans' individual ideologies. This is absurd. They suggest that we "support" the Green Party and the Moderate Republicans in their lawsuit filed in order to change the elections laws. I suppose that is because these parties so well reflect the thinking of a majority of Alaskans. Give me a break!

The Clarion is overlooking a seminal fact. A primary election is run in order to poll members of a political party to select a candidate to run in an upcoming general election.

If you deem it wise not to register with any political party, should you be allowed to vote in any party's primary? The answer is no. Why? Because you want to influence that party's results. Understandable, I guess. But would you really like me to pick your candidate? By what right does a nonmember have to influence a party's results? There is no more logic in this than there is logic in letting someone from Fairbanks vote in a Kenai election. If a person from Fairbanks wants to vote in a Kenai election, they should move to Kenai.

I almost fell off my chair when I read the following in the same Clarion editorial. "Not voting should not be considered an option." Guess what. It is and will always be an option. Most Americans are quite happy with the way things are going in our country. They don't feel a need to make any changes. They are happy with the job that we voters have been doing, thank you very much, and don't feel the need to vote every election.

By the way, have you ever noticed the terrific voter turnout totalitarian regimes can generate? I wish every American to be involved politically, but I do not presume to make them be.

If there are problems with the way our closed primary was implemented let's work out the problems, not destroy the system.

Bottom line: I don't want anyone voting in my party's primary unless they are members of my party. I don't want anyone voting in my precinct unless they live in my precinct. I don't want anyone voting in my district unless they live in my district. I don't want anyone voting in my state unless they live in my state. And I don't want anyone voting in my country unless they are citizens of my country.

Jerry Vitale


Clarion disappoints with story about militia group founder

I was very surprised that the Clarion would give front page coverage (Sunday) to Norman Olson ("Michigan militia group founder purchases property in Nikiski").

Your headline is incorrect and misleading.

What has Olson actually done? Has he purchased property? Has he established a congregation? Has he moved to Alaska? Has he done anything worthy of notice? No.

Olson appeals to the prejudices and emotions of people in order to gain political power. He is a demagogue.

Olson advocates hate, bigotry, racism and anti-Semitism, all of which are clothed in the self-righteousness of super-macho patriotism.

Olson is a person of arrogant pretension and misguided extremism. He is a false prophet who preaches the very tired message of "suspicion of government," and he has done nothing, yet, which is newsworthy.

I am very disappointed in the Clarion.

Jon B. Walters, pastor

The Church of The New Covenant

United Methodist Church


Those who don't know anything have no business casting a vote

The ideas expressed in the editorial of Marcus Garner entitled "Increasing voters' interest" (Peninsula Clarion, Sunday, page A-4) are just plain foolish.

People who do not understand the issues, what the candidates stand for or even what the issues are have no right voting. I vote in every election because I make it my business to learn the issues, learn how the candidates stand on these issues, and I care.

I attend fund-raisers, put up signs, etc. Why should someone who does not even know what the issues are, where the candidates stand on these issues or even what is happening vote and have his vote count the same as a person who knows how he is voting and why?

If a person does not care enough to make himself informed of the issues and where the candidates stand on those issues, why should he vote? Everyone would be better off if he just stayed home and let the vote go to the people who know what they are doing.

Esther Rhines


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