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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 18, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesPolitical Reform and Primaries

Political Reform and Primaries

Dear Source:
I believe the elections this year more than ever, point to the practicality of having open primaries. All taxpayers in the territory underwrite the primaries. Therefore, all electors should be eligible to participate in all primary elections regardless of party affiliation. Open primaries would preclude the change in party affiliation only to participate in the primaries. Primaries are the most costly method of selecting candidates, of the available options. The selections of candidates through conventions is an option, this method seems more appropriate since it allow the parties to internally select their own candidates for party offices and for governmental offices. Their slate of candidates for public offices is then presented to the electorate.
Presently persons interested in participating in the primaries change their party affiliation to participate in the primary of the party that usually uses the primary method to select their candidates, namely the Democratic Party. However, this practice affect the other parties, it reduces their registered membership. Parties need the signatures of their members to register their candidates for party offices and public offices. The reduction of membership makes it more difficult to gather signatures. The open primaries would preclude the need to change party membership to participate and would reduce the confusion of persons forgetting to restore their membership in their preferred party. Maybe the parties need to develop a better definition of their mission and philosophy on which they can build their membership. The parties need to develop identities that would distinguish them one from the other and command a loyal following based on principles and not on personalities.
I believe there would be less desertion, as is the common occurrence. There would be less no-party subscribers because the parties would be more attractive. Parties are very important in a democratic society; they play a very critical role. Parties are like incubators for political leaders and help develop teamwork and collective actions. Party politics should contribute to the orderly transition between administrations in government and provide some continuity in policies. Party politics allow for peaceful competition for political power based on established rules accepted by all parties. I believe the case for open primaries has been made; it is up to the politicians to enact the pertinent legislations to allow open primaries. It is up the people to pressure their representatives in the legislature to allow for open primaries. In general, elections, all electors have the right and duty to participate, since the outcome affects the whole community.
Let us introduce open primaries in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the benefit of our democratic society and the orderly evolution of our political system. Let us exercise our rights and responsibilities, the powers granted to us by the US Constitution and laws of the Virgin Islands. Let us demand that the legislators, our representatives, enact the pertinent laws for us to have open primaries.
This is yet another indication of the need for comprehensive political reform, unfortunately, our current Senators lack the vision and political courage to do what is obviously needed to improve our democratic political system. I understand a couple of senators have drafted bills for political reforms, however, they are not moving the bills due to personal political expediency. Most of these politicians do not do what is necessarily good for the community if it conflicts with their personal agenda. We should take note of those politicians who only operate based on political expediency instead of seeking the common good for the community, in a timely manner. Under the present elections laws, as I understand it, there are two categories within the electorate: Those that inscribe in a party and those who inscribe as no-party at the Board of Elections. I believe since there is legal recognition of the two categories they should be treated equally. Since the party category allows for only a definite number of candidates for each office, the same should apply to the no-party category. Therefore, the no-party category should also participate in the government-sponsored primaries to identify the candidates that would qualify for the general elections. This change would allow for a more orderly and fairer election system. It would be a natural in our political evolution.
J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.

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Dear Source:
I believe the elections this year more than ever, point to the practicality of having open primaries. All taxpayers in the territory underwrite the primaries. Therefore, all electors should be eligible to participate in all primary elections regardless of party affiliation. Open primaries would preclude the change in party affiliation only to participate in the primaries. Primaries are the most costly method of selecting candidates, of the available options. The selections of candidates through conventions is an option, this method seems more appropriate since it allow the parties to internally select their own candidates for party offices and for governmental offices. Their slate of candidates for public offices is then presented to the electorate.
Presently persons interested in participating in the primaries change their party affiliation to participate in the primary of the party that usually uses the primary method to select their candidates, namely the Democratic Party. However, this practice affect the other parties, it reduces their registered membership. Parties need the signatures of their members to register their candidates for party offices and public offices. The reduction of membership makes it more difficult to gather signatures. The open primaries would preclude the need to change party membership to participate and would reduce the confusion of persons forgetting to restore their membership in their preferred party. Maybe the parties need to develop a better definition of their mission and philosophy on which they can build their membership. The parties need to develop identities that would distinguish them one from the other and command a loyal following based on principles and not on personalities.
I believe there would be less desertion, as is the common occurrence. There would be less no-party subscribers because the parties would be more attractive. Parties are very important in a democratic society; they play a very critical role. Parties are like incubators for political leaders and help develop teamwork and collective actions. Party politics should contribute to the orderly transition between administrations in government and provide some continuity in policies. Party politics allow for peaceful competition for political power based on established rules accepted by all parties. I believe the case for open primaries has been made; it is up to the politicians to enact the pertinent legislations to allow open primaries. It is up the people to pressure their representatives in the legislature to allow for open primaries. In general, elections, all electors have the right and duty to participate, since the outcome affects the whole community.
Let us introduce open primaries in the U.S. Virgin Islands for the benefit of our democratic society and the orderly evolution of our political system. Let us exercise our rights and responsibilities, the powers granted to us by the US Constitution and laws of the Virgin Islands. Let us demand that the legislators, our representatives, enact the pertinent laws for us to have open primaries.
This is yet another indication of the need for comprehensive political reform, unfortunately, our current Senators lack the vision and political courage to do what is obviously needed to improve our democratic political system. I understand a couple of senators have drafted bills for political reforms, however, they are not moving the bills due to personal political expediency. Most of these politicians do not do what is necessarily good for the community if it conflicts with their personal agenda. We should take note of those politicians who only operate based on political expediency instead of seeking the common good for the community, in a timely manner. Under the present elections laws, as I understand it, there are two categories within the electorate: Those that inscribe in a party and those who inscribe as no-party at the Board of Elections. I believe since there is legal recognition of the two categories they should be treated equally. Since the party category allows for only a definite number of candidates for each office, the same should apply to the no-party category. Therefore, the no-party category should also participate in the government-sponsored primaries to identify the candidates that would qualify for the general elections. This change would allow for a more orderly and fairer election system. It would be a natural in our political evolution.
J. J. Estemac
St. Thomas

Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to source@viaccess.net.