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Locking down the primary

The Democratic Party wants to close Hawaii’s open primary system; the result could be even fewer voters

By Lee Catterall

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Apr 28, 2013

~~<p>For the past 30 years, voters in Hawaii's primary elections have been able to vote for candidates they prefer without being registered with any political party &mdash; but the Democratic Party here wants to challenge that system in court.</p>
<p>Hawaii is among 11 states that conduct &quot;open&quot; primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but attorney Tony Gill resigned as chairman of the Oahu Democrats to argue in court that the system violates the First Amendment's freedom of association, which has been extended by courts from freedom of speech. Eleven other states comply with that freedom by conducting &quot;closed&quot; primaries, limiting voters to those registered with a party prior to election day.</p>
~~

For the past 30 years, voters in Hawaii's primary elections have been able to vote for candidates they prefer without being registered with any political party — but the Democratic Party here wants to challenge that system in court.

Hawaii is among 11 states that conduct "open" primaries, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but attorney Tony Gill resigned as chairman of the Oahu Democrats to argue in court that the system violates the First Amendment's freedom of association, which has been extended by courts from freedom of speech. Eleven other states comply with that freedom by conducting "closed" primaries, limiting voters to those registered with a party prior to election day. Login for more...



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