Ron Tamaccio: How SC Lawmakers “Debate” Registration By Party

TOO MANY GOP LEADERS AREN’T LIVING UP TO PARTY PLATFORM ON PRIMARY ELECTIONS || By RON TAMACCIO || Primary elections should be the most democratic way for members of any political party to select their candidates.  After all, the persons they select will represent them, their party, and its platform…


Ron Tamaccio|| By RON TAMACCIO || Primary elections should be the most democratic way for members of any political party to select their candidates.  After all, the persons they select will represent them, their party, and its platform in the next general election.

Therefore why would anyone, especially a legislator, support a statute that allows someone who is not a member of a political party to vote in an election that will determine that party’s candidate(s)?  It’s like Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney letting USC coach Steve Spurrier choose his starting quarterback for the annual Clemson/Carolina Game.  No rational person would agree to such foolishness!

Nevertheless, more than three decades ago, the South Carolina Legislature amended the South Carolina Code to do just that.  They passed a bill permitting any registered voter to vote in any partisan primary election he/she chooses, i.e., they created open primaries.

Open primaries make no sense because, informed, conscientious, concerned voters will naturally affiliate with a political party whose platform reflects their personal moral and social values and whose candidates embrace and exemplify those values.

Simply put, those voters who do not wish to affiliate with a particular political party should not be able to participate in choosing that party’s candidates.  If a group of voters chooses to be “independent” or “non-affiliated,” that choice, although unquestionably valid, should carry with it the obligation to permit those who do declare an affiliation to a political party to choose that party’s candidates without interference from interlopers!

Fortunately, in the mid-1990s, some members of the legislature recognized this fallacy, and introduced a succession of bills to require Registration by Party for primary elections.  Regrettably, none of those bills passed.  In nearly every session of the legislature since, some member introduces a bill to require primary voters to affiliate with a party before voting in that party’s primary election. Nevertheless, the SC Code remains unchanged.

Sadly, then and now, Republicans were the majority party in both houses of the S.C. Legislature.  Republicans repeatedly defeated attempts to require registration by party for our primaries, despite declaring robust support for it in the party’s platform!  Republicans chaired the committees that killed those bills.  Republicans engaged in the worst sort of political chicanery to maintain the status quo.  They even thwarted a lawsuit intended to reverse the legislature’s decision to create open primaries!

The Republican Party’s Platform is very clear!  There is no room for “interpretation”:

“We believe political [parties] have the right to choose their nominees; therefore, we support primaries that are open only to registered voters of that political party.”

Chicanery is “…talk and actions intended to deceive.”  If this isn’t chicanery, what is? It’s no wonder the acronym “RINO” is apropos for so many of these “Republicans.”

Even more disturbing is the way they go about their nefarious deception.  They continue to use committee and sub-committee sessions, most of which go unnoticed by their constituents, to weaken or “kill” bills they do not like.  Committee chairs, on their own, can simply refuse to permit debate on any bill they do not support.  Consequently the bill simply “dies” in committee.  This is a recurring scenario in many House and Senate Committees.  On the Registration by Party issue, it’s happened twice in the Senate Judiciary Committee led by Senator Larry Martin.

Here’s how Senator Martin feels about Registration by Party:

“…It is accurate that I do not support closed primaries or party registration in order to vote in a primary. Respectfully, I don’t believe most of my constituents do either. I didn’t assign the bill to a subcommittee in the past session, however, because a similar bill died in a subcommittee in the previous session. [Facebook post, 12/27/14]

Because of these disingenuous tactics, South Carolina voters and the parties they join have had the selection process for choosing their candidates adulterated for far too long.

Fortunately, in this year’s legislative session a small group of courageous legislators in both houses – Senator Lee Bright and Representative Chip Limehouse among them – will spearhead another effort to require registration by party.  They will need support from concerned, conscientious voters who agree with them.

Theirs will not be an easy task, because far too many “Republicans” do not want to face opponents who support conservative principles, embrace the Republican party’s platform, and believe in the social contract our Founders created in the Constitution.

Engaged citizens are the key to success.  Working alongside these courageous legislators, their energy and enthusiasm will overcome the obstacles they are certain to face as they move forward.  One such group now exists in the Upstate.  It already has considerable “grass-roots” momentum.  They’re involved, energized, and beginning to make themselves heard on this issue in Columbia.  If you want to join them, go to for more information.

Ron Tamaccio is retired and lives in Greenville with his wife, Patricia.

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Joe February 9, 2015 at 8:05 pm

As long as the “Party Primaries” are publicly funded and held by public election boards they should remain open. If the “Parties” want to foot the bill and hold their very own private primaries then so be it.

FastEddy23 February 9, 2015 at 9:38 pm

Publicly funded? … LOL … That would be taxpayer funded, right?

How about if I give the state $100 a year to make the parties pay 100% for all primaries, period?

RHood2 February 10, 2015 at 7:08 pm

Most primaries make elections unnecessary. Most races are decided at the primary level. Used to be all the races were decided in the Democratic Primary. Turn the clock back 30 years, and you are saying a die-hard “registered” Republican would not be able to cast a meaningful ballot in this state. Now, the reverse is true.
Sorry. Don’t agree.
Until we have a valid two-party system here, we need open primaries.

tomstickler February 9, 2015 at 8:28 pm

Of course, it could be worse, with no primaries, but candidates chosen in convention.

Closed primaries in Kentucky resulted in many “DINOs” registering as Democrats in order to vote for the worst candidate, then pulling the R lever on General Election day.

An open primary may be the only way to get rid of a Republican unresponsive to his/her district, since so many hit the R button in the General with no thought.

FastEddy23 February 9, 2015 at 11:28 pm

That was not a bad thing in the long run. Exposure of this obvious fraud was all over the Internet … And Kentucky has taken steps to cull the lists of bono-fida voters.

Now even the rinos have a chance.

Out here in Taxifornia we no longer even have that choice: best two win the primaries, then both democrats have to slug it out = not!

Easter Bunny for President February 9, 2015 at 9:03 pm

“Engaged citizens are the key to success. Working alongside these
courageous legislators, their energy and enthusiasm will overcome the
obstacles they are certain to face”

“and once we are all eating ice cream & losing weight in Candyland, we’ll ride our Pegasus to the voting booths where Santa will check the rolls to make sure everyone is of the right mindset before deciding who to vote for.”

FastEddy23 February 9, 2015 at 9:35 pm

“I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how.” – Bloody Joe Stalin, who murdered more than 40 Million of his own … because the party kept re-electing him.

vicupstate February 10, 2015 at 5:43 am

As long as no one votes in BOTH primaries, I honestly don’t see what the problem is. The vast majority of offices do not have a competitive general election in this state. The primary IS the general election.

Open primaries have been the norm since at LEAST the 1970’s for both parties. The GOP went from being small enough to met in a phone booth, to being the 3rd or 4th most Republican state in the union, while completely under open primaries. What are they afraid of?

Independents have the right to participate in elections and have an impact on government. In this state one party or the other has been thoroughly dominate since at least the Civil War, with the lone exception being about a 15 year transitional period in the 1980’s-’90s.

It's a Great Day in SC February 10, 2015 at 7:55 am

This is all about some very Right Wing Republicans who have claimed for a number of years that “RINOS” or fuzzy “Independents” and even Democrats have skewered the nominating process and kept “real” Republicans from selecting “real” conservatives as their candidates.

The problem is the present legislators ,who would have to make this change ,are always going to be loathe to fiddle with their electoraes among whom they have been successful.

Accordingly,the chances of this being adopted are remote.

Anyway why squawk ?

After all

It’s a Great Day in SC!

The Great Googily Moogily February 10, 2015 at 11:10 am

or hey, heres an idea. why not allow everyone to vote in every primary, and you vote for the candidate that best represents you and your beliefs, instead of voting against the person you think can beat the other parties sweetheart

GrandTango February 10, 2015 at 1:05 pm

You are 100 PERCENT RIGHT..That is not common on this FITS site.

Also: I have a feeling that as the country moves right, in response to the disaster known as Obama and the Democrat Party…Elected Republicans will be FORCED back to the GOP Platform…

There will be NO NEED for a 3rd Party..and the GOP will win over and over again…if it would stick to the Platform, and not seep over to the Democrat (Failed) way of thinking…

Closed primaries are a GOOD idea.Liberals – as you see w/ FITS – will promote the weakest Republican…because they can manipulate them toward bad leftwing ideas…

Tom February 10, 2015 at 3:44 pm

Republicans are not really a fan of voting in general. The fewer the number of people who can vote the better as far as they are concerned. This is the case whether we are talking about the primary or the general election. Anything they can do to suppress voter turn out in the demographics that don’t benefit them, is fair game. Especially if it keeps blacks and Hispanics from voting.

JimBob February 10, 2015 at 3:53 pm

What this wing nut is saying that the current crop of Libertarians and other malcontents masquerading as Republicans can’t win on their own, so there must be something wrong with the system. What they refuse to accept is that they are a small minority and no one really cares what they, or Ron Paul think.


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