News Release: Third Parties Vow to End Primaries and Political Discrimination

Third Parties Vow to End Primaries and Political Discrimination
Will Tyler White

Third Parties Vow to End Primaries and Political Discrimination
The Michigan Third Party Coalition (MTPC), representing the state’s Green, Libertarian, Reform, Socialist, and U.S. Taxpayers Parties, is throwing its support behind the lawsuit brought by Berl Schwartz of the City Pulse Newspaper and Mark Grebner of Practical Political Consultants, among others, to strike down the current primary law as unconstitutional. “The Act creates a legal duopoly — a monopoly held by two institutions, the Michigan Democratic Party and the Michigan Republican Party — and ensures the continuation of the duopoly by forbidding them from transferring full ownership (of voter lists) to any other entity,” the complaint reads.

Going a step further than voiding the act, the Coalition wants public funding of primary elections abolished entirely. That proposal is part of an initiative on which the MTPC is working, known as the Voters Bill of Rights, to end political discrimination against independent voters. The first words of Michigan’s Constitution state “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.”

Although the majority of Michiganians are either independent or nonvoting, millions of their tax dollars help Democrat and Republican minorities choose and promote their candidates. If political power is inherently equal, then Michigan’s primary system constitutes political discrimination against independents and alternate parties, who select and promote their candidates without taxpayer funding or assistance.

Tied to the primary is publicity from the media, whose coverage of the primaries leaves the impression there are only two parties with candidates. This bias continues through the general election. For example, often only 2 of 5 candidates for the same office are invited to debate.

The timing problem of national primaries should be solved by federal action. The U.S. is the only major country in the world without uniform national ballot access laws. Either every state should have a primary with all parties on the same date, or none should have a primary. Parties can select candidates at their own expense by convention or caucus, as they did prior to 1912.

It is time to end the arbitrary and unfair primary system. Designed and implemented by the old party machines to control the process, it is a recurring point of contention as each party tries to tweak it to their best advantage. If Michigan eliminates its primary, other states could follow and prompt a federal solution.

MTPC is dedicated to a political future that lives up to our Constitution. That means either every party in the primary, or no publicly funded primary. It is an essential step towards equality for every party and all potential voters. If legislators will not act, then the public must.

CONTACT: Michigan Third Party Coalition (MTPC –
Green – Ken Mathenia, chair, 810 694-3473, or John Anthony La Pietra, Elections Coordinator
Libertarian – Bill Hall, chair, 616 460-9516, or Will Tyler White, executive committee, 517 349-3806
Reform – Matt Crehan, chair, 231 755-5252
Socialist – Matt Erard, chair, 248 765-1605
U.S. Taxpayers – Jerry Van Sickle, chair, 231 848-7257

Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter