Nonpartisan election vote should not be rushed
The proposal sponsored by council member Terry Parker to change city elections for mayor and council to nonpartisan will have an adverse effect on democracy in this city. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there are three factors that nonpartisan elections will negatively affect our city:
Depress participation in elections — fewer voters take part in nonpartisan elections
Reduce the ability of communities of color to elect candidates of their choice
Increase the importance of candidates wealth and fame- if the electorate is not well informed, simple name recognition maybe more important than the qualifications of the candidate
In the letter written by Dan Kemp, he mentions that there are good reasons for nonpartisan elections? Well, what are the reasons? Under this new proposal, who would really be disenfranchised in Hopkinsville?
Party identification is a key way voters can select a candidate. Partisanship affects decisions so why would you be dishonest by removing that from the ballot?
The proposed idea of nonpartisanship in our elections need a cross section of folks in this community to research and study. At this time because of the virus restrictions communicating with council is difficult if not impossible. It is imperative that all concerned citizens have an opportunity to ask questions and express their views.
According to statements by attorney Doug Willen there are many decisions that need to be made before council takes action. This same issue was voted down several years ago. It looks awfully suspicious for city council to be considering taking action on such a sensitive issue without community input because of the covid-19 situation. This concern alone deserves explanation.
I would suggest the council to defer this action until after a task force or community committee has had an opportunity to research and decide if this would be fair and equitable for Hopkinsville democracy. I want to know the evidence how nonpartisan elections will help make this a better community.
There is ample time to study and get community input.
There is no rush to get this to council to act on this issue.
Time is on our side.
Remember democracy is a system of government that bases its legitimacy on the participation of the people. And right now the people are not able to participate.