Former MS. Gov. Bill Waller comments on election - - Jackson, MS

Former MS. Gov. Bill Waller comments on election

Posted: Updated:
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Bill Waller may be on the political sideline now, but says last week's election was an occurring reminder of an issue he faced when he was governor back in the seventies.

Waller criticizes the state's closed primary system which requires voters to chose a party and then only vote for candidates within that party.

Waller says, "Under the party restrictions,you don't have freedom of choice. You're a 100% Republican or you're a 100% Democrat and it's not fair."

Under his administration as a Democratic Governor the legislature actually passed open primary legislation.

Waller says, "It was probably medium opposition. It was some, but not a lot."

That legislation however, wasn't approved by the Justice Department. Even though Waller feels there may be more opposition now, mainly from Republicans looking to keep control, he says there's a better chance of it happening.

Waller says, "The basic conviction of the average voter is to be independent of a party." and Waller says the state shouldn't just stop at an open primary.

 An additional step which Waller says could also increase voter turnout is putting election day on a Saturday with voter turn out below 50%, Waller says the combination should at least be looked at.

Waller says, "People have commitments that'll keep them tied up on Tuesday, less commitments and more freedom on Saturday."

While those in favor of closed primaries argue the process keeps parties together and creates better general election. Waller says overall the decision should be up to voters.

Waller says, "It destroys the Democratic process when you are inhabited and restricted from making a choice of the individual rather than the choice of the party." 

Copyright 2011 WLBT.  All Rights Reserved.

Powered by WorldNow