Are Non-Partisan Local Elections a Positive Thing?

Seriously, internets, I need your help.  Google is failing me on this.  I’m curious as to the history of our nonpartisan local elections in California.  Why are they nonpartisan?  Are they non-partisan in other states?  How often? Do people still believe this is a good thing anymore?  Any and all links or books or info or opinions will be helpful.  This will be an ongoing research project/interest of mine because I seem to be in the minority on this.  Oh, and it seems so obvious to me that, well, I’m right?  If I can say that without losing all of my reader.

I can’t find this source among all the voting rights shenanigans that is happening now in the Carolina’s after the VRA was gutted, but I read or watched a piece about one of the changes a county? in, I think it was South Carolina?…. One of the things they were trying to do was make the local races non-partisan.

The closest I can come to this is this quote:

Ten years ago, Republican lawmakers approved a bill changing the Charleston County School Board elections from nonpartisan to partisan — a move that came after a record number of blacks won election to the board and as Republicans were dominating other elections countywide.

The law didn’t go into effect because the Department of Justice blocked it, saying it would be harder for minority candidates to win seats under partisan elections.

There’s been no talk recently of changing back — and there might not be, particularly now that Democrats are enjoying new success in Charleston County races.

I don’t know if it is what I remember, I think the opposite was the case.  The VRA changes were allowing the Republicans to make the races non-partisan which would have aided their cause (and hurt the African-American voters).

But that is the one data point I have, and it’s obviously fuzzy.  The smart thing to say we all want non-partisan elections, policies should be about issues, not politics.  Which is of course true.  But there is the tiny fact that these decisions are not made in a vacuum.  Here is another data point – Glenn Beck on Common Core.

This is just an example.  Free speech means free speech.  People have the right to say whatever they want, even if it’s crazy.  Thing is, if it’s said with authority and by someone people trust and repeated a bunch then it has purchase in our society.  Right now our society has a bunch of craziness with a bunch of purchase and I do think it is important that we stand against them.  One place to do this is during our elections.  John Fullerton will have some Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh listeners.  These influencers are obviously partisan.  I think their ideas need to be addressed.  That’s were I am coming from.

I realize in promoting putting the partisan back in elections, I am in danger of being characterized as a brown shirt who is always wants decisions to be made along party lines – nothing could be further from the truth.  I just believe, and it may be because Dems have such huge electoral advantage in this county, …but I believe that partisanship is important to allow in local elections.  It open’s of the dialog, imho.  I think the truth is that many people, including myself, don’t have the time to focus on each election so they do vote party line.  I also think that there are some fundamental principles and/or philosophies that will effect the day-to-day administration of whatever local board we are speaking of that do fall on either side of the partisan divide. Not all day-to-day decisions, but many.

So this is my request internets.  Google has kinda failed me on this.  Let me know what your thoughts are and why I’m wrong. (or right)

Is there such a thing as a non-partisan election?  Shouldn’t the dividing line be partisan elections but non-partisan governing/administration?

You report – I decide!  KIDDING!


4 thoughts on “Are Non-Partisan Local Elections a Positive Thing?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting points. I, for example, want to know the parties of everyone running when I can. it helps identify their inclinations, at least if they are honest about their party identification. Since at least in some locations, some school board members who tend conservative-republican have been more likely to vote in anti-science policies such as creationism as an equivalent ‘theory’ to evolution, and to be very suspicious and vote against health policies/education which include reproductive/ sexual health information. Maybe not here, but it sure happens.

  2. The Voting Citizenry

    As a Non Partisan, I have learned that most Politcals are selective arduous cons.
    Therefore I tend to vote for specific People (like minded) that have the Country’s and Majority voting Citizenry’s agenda to uphold.
    As far as measures that need to be resolved, I find that if I vote for a Majority of one house, then vote for a Minority in the other it creates a “check and balance” on both party’s political interests, like the stalemate that you see now.
    To resolve this measure there needs to be reform in Government, Citizenry, and the Rule of Law, to bring about Sanity. Because without rule of law, we have no Country, and without Country no one will have anything, money or otherwise, mostly Lawlessness, destruction, and strife.
    I believe greater heads will prevail over policy.

    Thanks for your comments, they are informative.

  3. John – Thank you for the complement. That means quite a bit.

    As a non-partisan you are like the Anthony Kennedy of elections, you are that voter that both sides court to get on their side. So, it’s not in my interest to disagree with you, but I have to.

    I remember the “check and balance” theory as you called it from the 1994 election. That’s the first time I heard it and it was quite the meme back then (before meme was a meme).

    That may be the first time I began to understand this pattern of thought – in this case nominally independent, but I see as pretty conservative because it says two things, one more conscious than the other. First it says Government is better if it’s balanced and thus not able to act (or acts more deliberately – which is not horrible)). I think that is fundamentally conservative – it’s another example of the monkey wrenches that Republicans and conservatives like to throw into the machinery of government. I understand where you are coming from, people are afraid of a well oiled and empowered government today, but this is the heart of my disagreement with the “common sense” that is out there. Maybe it stems from this anti-FDR movement? I don’t know. It’s unpopular to say so, but I disagree with the check and balance theory – especially if that is going to inform your vote for a certain Senator, Congressman or President. (ie one might figure, well I know X is going to be President and the Senate will be controlled by the Y party, so I’m going to vote for Congressman Z even though I like Congressman AA. (I ran out of alphabet)

    I forgot my second point. Doh!

    1. Democraticjon – Thank you for the reply, it means a lot to me also.

      You asked for my opinion, so I will try to reply as to why I theorize this way.

      First of all We live in a Country Made up from different Cultures, religions,and otherwise.
      all seeking Freedom from Oppression, and or Tyranny. ( does not mean check one, and ballance the other) as you know diversity is what makes this Country great and prosperous.
      But it also shows the different ideas that can be learned from that diversity of tried, and accomplished, fare.
      Also new and progressive intelligence that is being developed from different minds, and thought.

      My opinion on politicians is, that they are too entrenched in their Carreer, sometimes for life and have become complacent in their way of thought, and or political gains, and not open to new thought of laws that need to be rectified, instead of, by imposition of old rhetoric.

      Some of the Old Politicals didn’t and or don’t know the value of the Inernet and its formitable advances on the power of communications, (that we all are confronted with) and unschooled in its effect.
      therefore the “monkey wrench” that you alude to.

      What is needed is shorter Term Limits, and New Blood (diversity) schooled in the proper implementation of modern, and progressive ideas and thought. As you can wittness today.
      that is why I said :
      “Reform in Government, Citizenry, and the Rule of Law, to bring about Sanity”.

      Progress is a part of growth that we are all endowed with.
      To use an old Biblical quote: — “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, reason like a child, think like a child. But now that I have become a man, I’ve put an end to childish things”.

      We all grow every day, either Wiser, or Older.
      Yesterday is gone (PAST), Today is here (PRESENT), Tomorrow is coming (FUTURE) and when we plant a seed with care, and expectation, it will grow a future harvest for our OFFSPRING.

      All things aside, I think you know where I’m coming from. And I respect your point of view. and admire your challenge for information.

      Thank you

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