kunc-header-1440x90.png
Our Story Happens Here
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

The Curious Case Of Crossover Voting

A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds up a sign as Sanders addresses a rally at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina.
A supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders holds up a sign as Sanders addresses a rally at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina.

When voters from one party vote in the open primary of another party, it’s called crossover voting. And it’s not new.

Some voters see it as an opportunity. Many Democrats in states with open primaries voted for then-presidential candidate John McCain in the 2000 election, preferring him to President George W. Bush.

However, both Democrats and Republicans take issue with the practice, arguing that opposition voters can meddle in primaries without ever intending to back their choice in November. That meddling could work out this election cycle in South Carolina.

Today, some state Republicans are signaling they may vote for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for a couple of reasons. Former Vice President Joe Biden held a sizeable lead in South Carolina until recently. Republicans think they can push Sanders into the lead, which they think is a better head-to-head matchup for President Donald Trump in the general election.

How common is cross-party voting in open primaries? What impact does this have on elections? Should states move to limit the practice?

Copyright 2020 WAMU 88.5. To see more, visit WAMU 88.5.