2012 Post Primary Observations

1. Don’t confuse voter absence with voter apathy. The low voter turnout should be viewed as a no-confidence vote for the status quo. Voters deliberately stayed home delivering an anti-mandate for the system.

2. The political parties are responsible for qualifying candidates. Some people within the parties have been pushing for voter registration by party. How can we expect the parties to accurately track voters if they cannot even run their own primaries correctly. They need to commit the necessary resources so that they understand the election law and avoid this type of primary debacle in the future.

3. The primary process favors incumbents. While the government runs the general election in November, the political parties are responsible for their own primaries. The general election process allows a write-in candidate. The primary does not. The general election process does not allow a person to be on the ballot twice for two different offices. The primary process does.

4. The SC Supreme Court acted with restraint . . . for once. The court has come under criticism for not offering a remedy when it ruled that candidates should be disqualified. It appears that they strictly construed the law, which is what they are supposed to be doing.

5. The General Assembly once again learns about unintended consequences. No matter the level of good intentions behind any law, somebody or some event will expose lapses in the law. Of course, with all the lawyers running around Columbia, you would think that this wouldn’t be the case. The ethics law was much needed, but it was never intended to replace the existing law governing candidate filings. Unfortunately, no one including the legislators who wrote the law, the parties or the candidates really understood the potential conflict which resulted in the primary fiasco

6. The primary was a net zero for reform. The removal of so many candidates did great damage to those who desire to continue reforming state government. This fiasco interrupted a generational shift that was occurring in the Senate, which had it continued, would have greatly benefited the state.

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Tommy Stringer