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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Today is the day to vote in both parties' Texas gubenatorial Primary election. When you register to vote in Texas, you don't register with a party, so you are not restricted in which primary you can vote - but of course you can only vote in one.

Hypothetically, if you were someone who generally identified with one party, but you felt very strongly about certain candidates/issues that were at stake in the "opposition's" primary, would you vote in your traditional party's election anyway or would you cross lines and vote in the other?
 

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I don't understand. In Canada, we vote based on our riding and we don't have to register with a party. Why do you have to register with a party before you vote?
It has to do with the primary system where various party's pick the candidate they wish to represent them in the general election. Some states have "open" primaries where you can vote for a candidate of any party and some have "closed" primaries where only the members of a particular party can vote to see who represents that party. Many times there are independent candidates in the general election who aren't aligned with any party.

Personally, I think the members of the party should pick their representative so I wouldn't cross lines. There have been times where I so disliked the people up for my own party's candidacy that I just skipped the primary completely.

One of the arguments against open primaries is that people will cross lines to elect the worst possible candidate from the other party, thereby giving their candidate an advantage in the general election.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You have to register for a party in most states in order to vote in the primary elections. And in most states you can only vote in the primary for the party with which you registered - in other words, if you want to vote in the Democratic primary, you have to be a registered Democrat, same for Republicans, and Independents, Green pary, etc. cannot vote in either major party primary, just the general election. Theoretically, this means the outcome of the race reflects the majority opinion of the party's base.

I believe the other motivation behind that is it keeps opposition party members from skewing a primary race - e.g. acting a "spoilers" and deliberately voting for the opposition candidate that they'd prefer to see run against their candidate (because they think that person is weaker and won't win in a general election), or in order to force a run-off election which costs more money and might damage the winner's chances in a general election.

Texas is a bit of an exception in that anyone can vote in either primary. And yes, there is a long history of deliberate spoilers voting in primaries. It might happen in this race - the incumbent Republican governor is favored to win the primary and has a pretty good lead over his main rival, a former senator. But there's a third candidate who has a stronger-than-expected base and might take votes away from the incumbent. If no one wins by more than a majority, there has to be a runoff, which is expensive and would probably weaken whoever won in the general election. Meanwhile, on the Democratic side, the frontrunner is probably quite safe, and although the Texas governorship has historically favored Republicans, he might have a shot if the Republican nominee is bruised by a costly runoff. So there are good reasons for Democrats to want to vote in the Republican primary (the keep the incumbent from winning an all-out majority and forcing the runoff), and there is also reason for Republicans to vote in the Democratic primary, though less compelling (to scare the frontrunner a bit and take away his comfortable lead).

Basically the Texas system can work backwards from the intent of primary elections - it can encourage people to use their vote against the candidate/party they don't like, rather than serving as a referendum within a party to determine which candidate the majority of the base prefers. On the other hand, it allows Independents and members of smaller parties to vote in an election cycle that they otherwise wouldn't have a voice in.
 
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