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Letter: Primary system doesn't allow voters a range of options

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Voting in St. Louis

Steve Allbright of St. Louis votes on Tuesday April 6, 2021, in the 12th Ward at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in the city's Mayoral election. The ballot also includes several measures proposed by the Metropolitan Sewer District to pay for infrastructure upgrades. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

I am again disappointed by our electoral process in St. Louis. Why do we need to choose a party ballot in order to vote?

I usually vote more along Republican lines but often choose another party if I feel a candidate is better suited to that particular office. Since moving to St. Louis more than 20 years ago, I have not fully been able to do that.

In the primary elections, if I choose a Republican ballot, I can vote for state candidates who are meaningful to me and then move on to the general election. But, unfortunately, this often allows me no meaningful decision in our city races. Mostly only Democrats win elections in St. Louis. So, I miss out on actually choosing my elected city leaders.

If I choose a Democratic ballot, I would miss out on choosing a Republican candidate to send to the general election to face a Democrat in state races. But I can choose my next city elected leader in the primary election, because we all know that, in the city, the general election doesn't matter.

Either way, I never end up being able to vote for who I truly want in all the races.

Why the barrier? Why do I need to choose a party ballot? I think we should stop the political stranglehold on choice. Give me the freedom to choose who I want, regardless of political party.

Julie Ashcroft • St. Louis 

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