Two weeks ago I voted, but unlike all the posters and campaigns told me it would, I feel like my vote did not count.
I was excited in the weeks leading up to the Texas primaries, but as the day approached I soon understood that I would have to make a decision, not just on who I wanted to vote for but if I wanted my vote to count nationally or globally. Texas has an open primary system which means voters do not have to belong to a particular party to participate in the Republican or Democratic primaries. Although voters can decide every election cycle what primary they want to participate in, areas that are heavily one partied, like Abilene and its surrounding areas, can lead voters to having less of a choice in who they want in local, state and national offices.
I am registered in Jones County which is just outside of Abilene. In Jones County, all candidates running for a local office, and most running for state office were all running under the Republican ticket. This was also the case for Taylor County. This means that if someone wanted to vote in the Democratic primary for the presidential nomination, the voter would forfeit the right to vote on local officials who have more of a direct effect in the voter’s life. I fell into this exact situation on Super Tuesday. My experience has lead me to believe that Texas should switch from an open primary system to a blanket primary system.
A blanket primary is a system in which voters choose one candidate per office regardless of the candidate’s party affiliation. The candidate from any party with the most votes would then face off in the general election in November. The ballot for this system allows the voter to see all candidates, Republican, Democrat and others, at the time of voting. This system has already been adopted in Alaska and in a modified version in Louisiana. A blanket primary would allow voters in heavily one party areas to have the option of not having to decide if they’d rather their vote count on a national or local scale.
Two weeks ago I voted and I feel like it didn’t matter. Two weeks ago I was also let down by Texas’s primary system. We have time until the next primaries come around which means we have time to make sure Texans voices are heard, locally, statewide and nationally.