Greenville, SC _ June 2, 2010 – The Greenville County Republican Party and the South Carolina Republican Party have filed suit in U.S. District Court in Greenville, seeking to overturn laws that prevent political parties in this state from holding primaries in which only people registered for that party can vote.
The suit will have no effect on the June 8th 2010 Primary Elections, as it seeks only to change the way future primaries are conducted.
Currently, South Carolina law allows any registered voter to vote in any political party’s primaries, which denies political parties their 1st Amendment right of “free association,” a legal concept meaning individuals’ right to express themselves and promote common interests as a group.
In addition, the suit maintains that current state law denies political parties the right of equal protection under the law. State law requires that political parties who choose to nominate candidates by convention, rather than by primary, must get a 3/4 majority to nominate, effectively making the convention process prohibitively difficult. The suit notes that other entities, like non‐profits and corporations, have no such restrictions under state law.
By overturning these unconstitutional state statutes, the Republican Party’s goal is to force a change in state law that allows parties to conduct party‐only primaries in the future, if they choose to.
“We’ve seen Democrats influence Republican primaries for too long,: said Patrick Haddon, Chairman of the Greenville GOP. “We think that it’s our right as a party to hold our elections closed to people not registered as Republicans. Whether it’s churches, corporations or non‐profits, government doesn’t mandate that people from outside those organizations tell them how to do their business. It should be the same for political parties.”
“The Executive Committee of the SCGOP made registration by party one of its top three legislative priorities for this year, and I am very proud to be joining Patrick and the Greenville GOP to push this suit forward,” said Karen Floyd,
Chairman of the South Carolina GOP. “Republican primaries ought to be decided by Republicans, period. We believe this suit will be decided in our favor, and our hope is that it will force recognition of our right to make sure our primaries are not decided by outside influences seeking to exploit the system.”