Reforming the process of choosing a candidate

Question of the Month

March 27, 2004

What do you think of the process our major parties use to choose their nominees for president? How would you change it?

Collectively, we represent 905 years of experience and wisdom as American-born citizens. And we are dissatisfied with many aspects of the process our major parties use to choose their nominees for president. We suggest the following:

The process should be made shorter - don't drag out the campaigning. Instead, use a shorter amount of time and be more productive - prepare and present solid, truthful and concise ideas. We're getting sick and tired of all the lies the candidates put forth.

Mud-slinging should be eliminated from primaries and all elections.

The press shouldn't interfere with the winning of delegates by declaring the winner before the candidates have accumulated all necessary delegates.

All campaign contributions to anyone involved in the process should be limited. All candidates should start out equal, with no exceptions.

All states should have the same primary process.

Registered Independent voters should be permitted to vote in primaries.

Bernie DuBrow

Betsy McDonald


The letter was also signed by 11 other members of the Harmony Hall Retirement Community.

If candidates for the presidency could not advertise on radio or television, they would not have to raise such huge amounts of money. The contest would then be forced into presumably more thoughtful forums.

So any sort of advertising intended to influence the outcome of a presidential primary or general election should be banned from the airwaves.

This would require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would instruct judges that such a ban is not a violation of rights under the First Amendment.

Hal Riedl


Eliminate caucuses. They are not representative of the total electorate - only of the extroverted political activists.

Eliminate "cross-over" or "open" voting in primaries. It breeds mischief, such as crossing party lines to vote for the worst candidate in the other party.

Don't permit registered Independents to vote (i.e. meddle) in party primaries, which are intended for registered, dedicated members to nominate their own party's candidates.

There should be a national primary for all states on the same day. This would give all the candidates an equal chance at their party's nomination and give the voters in all the states an equal chance to have a meaningful vote, rather than leaving voters in states at the tail end of the process irrelevant.

Only federal funding should be used, with an equal amount to all candidates of all parties that hold primaries.

And the media should desist from unfairly ordaining certain parties as "major" while ignoring the rest.

Harry E. Bennett Jr.


On March 2, Maryland held its primaries, but many of the taxpayers who paid for this event were denied the opportunity to participate. Only those registered in the Democratic and Republican parties could take part.

It seems that primary elections are held to benefit a select group even though the cost is presently borne by all taxpayers.

I suggest that if Maryland continues to hold primary elections, either the political parties benefiting should pay the cost of such elections or the polls should be open to all.

The general fund of the state and its counties should not continue to subsidize the political parties.

Joe Kochenderfer

Havre de Grace

The Sun hit on a particular pet peeve of mine when it asked for opinions on the process major parties use to select their nominees for president.

I believe that the United States should be just that: a united front on all issues. And when it comes to electing leaders to serve the whole country, I suggest the following common-sense guidelines:

All states should have identical methods of voting.

All states should have open primaries. This would give all voters the same chance to vote for or against a candidate either of their party or of an opposing view.

All states should have one primary day, just like in the general election, so that all candidates have an even chance.

The polls should be open for the same 12 hours in all time zones, and close at the same time.

Is that too simple? Why does something have to be complicated to work?

Marylu Manning


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