New York Times Cross-Eyed On Crossover Voting?

Nifty piece in Wednesday’s New York Times web-headlined:

In Open Primary, Fear of Party Crashing


SALT LAKE CITY — The Tea Party as party crasher?

That’s the question hanging over the Democratic primary next Tuesday between Utah’s lone Democrat in Congress, Rep. Jim Matheson, and his challenger, a retired schoolteacher named Claudia Wright.

Neither candidate is the sort to make a conservative’s heart sing, especially Ms. Wright, who favors gun control, health care reform and abortion rights. She is also openly lesbian in a state where same-sex orientation is not exactly plain vanilla.

But that left-field portrait, paradoxically, might be exactly the suite of traits that could draw in at least some conservatives to support her in the primary. Why? Because she would, presumably, be the easier candidate for a Republican to beat in November. Under Utah Democratic Party rules, any registered voter can show up, no party questions asked, and fill out a ballot.

That would be what’s known as tactical – or crossover – voting, a practice honored more in theory than in reality.

For one recent example, see Eric Alterman’s review of  Zev Chavets’ mash note, Rush Limbaugh: An Army of One.

Limbaugh launched “Operation Chaos” [in 2008], instructing conservatives to vote for Hillary Clinton in crossover primaries in order to weaken the eventual nominee, Barack Obama.

But that’s ancient history in ADHD America, so it’s no surprise the Times didn’t reference the Limbaugh-lower-now effort.

What is surprising: The Times didn’t mention the South Carolina Democratic Senate primary that Nowhere Man Alvin Greene won much to his surprise.

Crossover voting is one of the “conspiracy theories” in the aftermath of the SC primary, as this AP report indicated.

The state has open primaries, which means Republican voters could have chosen to vote in the Democratic primary and gone for Greene. But then crossover voters couldn’t have voted in a more-important four-way race for governor on the GOP ballot.

More than twice as many voters cast ballots in the GOP primary than in the Democratic contest, and vote totals show 19,000 voters selected a Democratic candidate for governor but skipped the U.S. Senate part of the ballot.

So maybe not. But still – germane to the Times Utah Congressional story? Or not?

Utell us.

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3 Responses to New York Times Cross-Eyed On Crossover Voting?

  1. Steve Stein says:

    That SC case baffles me. There’s a lot about it that smells like a “dirty trick”, but if we’re looking for a crime, where’s the motive? It’s not like DeMint is in any trouble – the establishment Democrat (Rawls) had low name recognition, and for those that have heard of him, more dislike him than not. So why risk shenanigans?

    That said, I don’t see much relevance to crossover voting in this case. The latest rumblings I’ve heard (electronic voting fraud?) make it sound more like a “dry run” for fixing a higher profile election using the same equipment.

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