Advocates for closed primaries take fight to Democratic Presidential Preference vote

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TAMPA, FL – OCTOBER 22: Voting booths are setup at the Yuengling center on the campus of University of South Florida as workers prepare to open the doors to early voters on October 22, 2018 in Tampa, Florida. Florida voters head to the polls to cast their early ballots in the race for the Senate as well as the Governors seats. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)–The South Carolina Presidential Preference Primary is coming up at the end of the month. Dubbed the “First in the South” primary, voters will cast a ballot for the democrat they want on the 2020 ticket. Because of open primaries any voter, regardless of party, can participate.

A local group is trying to change all that. It’s a grassroots effort that has been going on for several years. The goal? Move to closed primary system in South Carolina.

Stacy Shea is the action leader for Registration by Part SC. She has one message for her fellow republicans–feel the

“We’re going to be participating in the Democrat Presidential Primary,” Shea said.

She and other local advocates have been vyig for closed primaries for years. Now, they’re taking a stand to send a message.

“Democrats tend to cross over into our primaries to try and influence them, which you know they’re playing by the rules and were just doing the same thing,” Shea said.

All while supporting President Trump’s 2020 campaign.

“We think that Sanders is the least electable candidate and that’s why we’ve chosen to get behind him,” Shea said.

Greenville County Elections Commissioner Conway Belangia says anyone can vote in the primary, for any reason.

“Crossover voting by political parties has always been a situation in South Carolina,” Belangia said.

But not everyone thinks this is normal. That’s including Kate Franch, the chair of the Greenville County Democratic Party.

“This is an act of desperation,” Franch said.

Franch sees a problem with Shea’s initiative.

“You shouldn’t be telling people who they should vote for unless you are campaigning for those folks,” Franch said.

She also thinks primaries should stay open because in some loca elections there isn’t a democrat candidate.

“I should have a voice in who is ultimately elected in that position,” Franch said.

She says voters, no matter the party, should head to the polls looking at the big picture.

“Whoever you vote for could end up being the person that is elected to that office,” Franch said.

Shea says no matter what happens at the polls, she’s taking a stand for what she believes in, hoping the message makes an impact.

“You couldn’t have a more distinct difference between two candidates,” Shea said.

The primary happens on February 29th and polls will be open until 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Anyone who is registered can go out and vote.

A reminder that if you do vote in Greenville County, make sure to double check your polling location, as alternate locations are still being used.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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