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The Scoop - Primaries filled with confusion
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There's one topic in which local candidates running for office will all agree after Tuesday's primaries. Voters do not understand the election process.

That's a comment I received from 100 percent of the people who were on the ballot asking for votes. Even some of the candidates themselves are confused, with one asking if the votes they receive in the primary get to carry over to the General Election in August.

This widespread confusion is the reason we should stop having Democratic and Republican primaries for county offices. It adds a layer of disorder that's unnecessary.

Candidates running in McMinnville's city election do not declare themselves Democrat or Republican. They just run. There is no primary. People vote one time. That's it. This process makes it very easy to understand.

Candidates running for seats on our School Board follow this same format and do not affiliate themselves with a political party. They just run for School Board. No one cares if they are Democrat or Republican.

Yet, for reasons I will never understand, a person running for Register of Deeds can do so as a Republican. Does political alliance really matter for this basic office job?

A candidate running for County Court Clerk can do so as a Democrat, as if this makes a difference when I walk in and pay $59 to renew my car tags.

By the same logic, why do candidates for Warren County Commission declare a political party? Are the Republicans going to band together to shut down Animal Control? Are we going to vote to build a wall around Warren County?

Our County Commission has nothing to do with state and national politics. It provides funding for our schools. It must operate a county jail for our blossoming inmate population. Maintaining a Sheriff's Department and Ambulance Service are huge responsibilities too.

But none of this intersects with state or national politics. And the last thing we need, should the Republican Party continue to gain strength and pick up more seats on the Warren County Commission this election cycle, is for people to toss aside common sense and start voting along party lines, a practice which paralyzes Congress.

It could be argued our County Commission struggles enough as it is. There's no need to complicate matters more with partisan gridlock.
From my perspective, the city elections work great. Roll out the candidates, have one election, and let the voters have their say. There are no questions or lengthy explanations. It's an election minus the confusion.

Conversely, Tuesday's primaries were void of clarity. After all we've done here at the paper to publicize who would be on the ballot and who wouldn't, I still had someone ask me why they couldn't vote for their candidate for sheriff.

If we're tying to make it easy for voters to make a clear decision, this is not the way to continue.

Standard editor James Clark can be reached at 473-2191.