2010-05-21 / Editorial/Opinion

Kick Political Parties Out Of The Election Process

At first, the idea of eliminating party affiliation in citywide elections sounds silly – sort of like eliminating the jelly from a PBJ sandwich. At second look, however, the plan might not be as outlandish as it sounds at first blush. In fact, the idea of eliminating party affiliations in city elections has been around for nearly a decade, pushed first by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003 and roundly defeated by the electorate. A lot of water has gone under the bridge since 2003, and many voters are angry at both politicians and political parties. This time, experts say, it may well have a chance of getting to the ballot next November and also of being approved by the electorate this time around. Under the proposal, candidates are not identified by party and voters can participate in a general primary without regard to their political registration. Such a system, Bloomberg says, would curtail the unhealthy influence of parties and would encourage wider participation in the electoral process. We agree. A nonpartisan primary would kill all of the political maneuvering and petition-squashing that so angers many voters. It would also take away the power of party officials such as district leaders in deciding who should run under the party banner. We see no downside to the proposal and hope that it makes the November ballot.

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