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Mississippi: Dems win on closed primary

Richard Winger announced on Ballot Access News:
On June 8, a US District Court Judge in Mississippi ruled in favor of the Democratic Party. The issue was whether the party could require voters in its primary to be members or not. The judge, a Clinton appointee, gave the legislature until April 2008 to find a way to give the Democratic Party what is wanted. This could be a law requiring registration by party, but the judge did not say that particular solution is needed. The case is Miss. State Dem. Party v Barbour, civil action no. 4:06cv29-P-B, Judge W. Allen Pepper.

By cooperation with Richard, I can make the opinion available here.


Mississippi's 2007 primaries will be in August, and I'm surprised that Judge Pepper issued his ruling this close to those primaries. Even though the ruling does not apply to the 2007 primaries, there's bound to be some confusion.

When the Mississippi Democrats' lawsuit was announced on March 1, 2006, many Republicans thought that its main purpose was to help Congressman Bennie Thompson in the June 2006 primary. Judge Pepper refused to let the Democrats close their 2006 primary.

Virginia's 2007 primaries are on June 12, and the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals is evidently waiting until after those primaries to hand down its ruling in the Virginia Republicans' open-primary lawsuit.

On June 2, ironically, the Idaho Republican Party passed a resolution to close its primaries to non-members.

There is also a movement among South Carolina Republicans to close their primaries. SC, of course, is also part of the 4th Circuit.

~~ Steve Rankin
Jackson, Mississippi

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