Editor's Corner #3

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

While many of us are proud of the United Statesí democratic system, not as many of us find ourselves actively working to protect and improve it for ourselves and others. For decades, our country was seen as the world leader in democracy, our system was used as a framework for governments on a global scale. However, the process hasnít come without some growing pains.

While some would argue that our systems should be rigid and unchanging, it seems foolish to think that while everything else changes and adapts, our government and our democracy should be the exception. The concept is not a new one, either.

Our democratic system has always been a living, changing system (I need not remind you that originally only white, male landowners were eligible to vote). So, when an opportunity comes before us to appropriately uplift and promote our democratic system, and encourage higher voting rates, we ought not hesitate to do so. A new ballot initiative has been proposed in Idaho, one that would make primary elections open and implement ranked-choice voting for Idahoans. The initiative has already attracted many eyes, and opposition from many Republicans statewide. The process for primary elections would look quite different, but the number of individuals that would be able to vote in primaries would increase exponentially. Currently, in Idaho, a resident cannot vote, for example, in the Republican primary election without declaring themselves a member of the party. That makes things difficult for individuals, such as myself, who are registered independents, wishing to engage in civic duty and fulfill a constitutional right. Our United States was founded on a democratic system, not a two-party system, and institutions that prevent eligible voters from voting is unconstitutional, and downright anti-American. States red and blue, such as Alaska and Maine, have already implemented open primary systems to encourage higher voter turnouts to ensure that officials are truly selected by and for the people. We have an obligation to protect our fragile democracy, and help it grow into a system that works for ALL Americans, allowing ALL voices to be heard. While partisan politicians will, and have already began to, attack initiatives such as this out of fear that they might harm their party, it is important to take a step back and educate yourself on proposals such as this that aim to provide all Idaho state residents with more fair, honest, and accurate elections. This initiative provides many Idahoans with the opportunity to make their voices heard and play a role in their government! I invite you to take action and engage in activities that support voting and expand voter rights and capabilities. I want to hear from YOU about the proposed ballot initiative, you can reach me at editor@mountainhomenews.com. Have a happy Wednesday and a happy week, Mountain Home!

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