Greenville Considers Non-Partisan Elections - WSPA.com

Greenville Considers Non-Partisan Elections

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An Upstate city considers doing away with party primaries for municipal elections. An Upstate city considers doing away with party primaries for municipal elections.
GREENVILLE, S.C. -  Primary elections aren’t cheap.  In Greenville County along it costs about $100,000 to open and staff the polls.  It’s the same price even in elections where virtually nobody shows up.

“We have to open the precincts we have to have poll workers there.  We have to prepare for everybody to come vote even though they don't,” said election director Conway Belangia.

It’s also the case for races in which political party doesn’t matter much.

The Greenville County coroner, Parks Evans, was appointed by a Republican Governor and says he “feels allegiance” to the Republican party.  He also freely admits that his party affiliation has nothing to do with his job.

“We've got to make a ruling on cause and manner of death and I don't care how you look at it that has nothing to do with politics," Evans said.

The Register of Deeds is an elected Republican, so is the auditor and the treasurer.  Staff said political party has nothing to do with their work.

Political party matters so little in some municipal elections that Belangia said some are canccanceledply because of “lack of interest.”

Greenville is the largest city in the state that still fills council seats by political party.  That’s something the council will consider changing.

Supporters of non partisan elections say it will speed the process and encourage more candidates to get involved.

Critics, like Democratic Councilwoman Lillian Brock FlemmigFlemminghat would cut some newcomers out of the process.

“You need the support you need somebody to assist you there are a lot of people who would like to run but they don't know how to," Flemming said.

Flemming said it would be especially difficult in some districts with large minority populations that fall short of enough voters to elect a representative on council.  In districts where, say, 35% of the population is black a candidate needs broader support to get into office and the backing of a political party helps accomplish that.
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