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Argument: Closed primaries can also violate free assoc

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While opponents of open primaries try to raise constitutional issues with Open Primaries, they fail to realize that this argument cuts both ways. The most popular alternative to the open primary is the closed primary. And, the closed primary can also be construed as unconstitutional. In Tashjian v. Republican Party of Connecticut, the United States Supreme Court determined that Connecticut’s closed primary law was unconstitutional. The Connecticut closed primary law “[required] voters in any political party primary to be registered members of that party.” The Republican Party of Connecticut, however, wanted to allow independents to vote in the Republican primary if they so chose. The problem with this closed primary law was that it prevented the Republican Party from allowing independent “registered voters not affiliated with any party-to vote in Republican primaries for federal and statewide offices.” Since the Republican Party of Connecticut was not able to choose who it wanted to vote in the primary, the United States Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, stated that the closed primary law in Connecticut “impermissibly burdens the right of the Party and its members protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”[1]

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