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By Jodi George
In 1992, only 51 Marion County residents voted in the Republican primary.
Today, the Marion County GOP's membership exceeds 2,000 registered voters.
A group that once could squeeze into a phone booth now needs a real meeting room to gather.
Despite the boom in the county's Republican registration, the GOP remains a minority party locally and statewide, at least on paper. Although the registration gap remains wide, Marion County has become much more bipartisan.
After all, George W. Bush won Marion County in 2000 and 2004; John McCain won in 2008; and for the past 10 years, a Republican has represented us in Frankfort.
Furthermore, registration for voters without any party affiliation has grown at a rate greater than 10 percent per year since 1996, and yet the conventional wisdom says that Marion County is still a "Democratic party stronghold." One may argue otherwise.
The record shows that Marion County residents are voting for the person, not the party. Voting "the straight ticket" is on the way out. Therefore, our primaries have become more important. Every vote is important, not just those of the predominant party of the county. When Kentucky finally opens its primaries to everyone of voting age, we will experience a more democratic balance; voters will have the freedom to register in a group that best represents their ideals. Unfortunately, by keeping the primary closed, the Democratic Party is holding voter registration hostage and disenfranchising independent voters. As the Democratic Party leaders fight the push to open the primary elections, voters registered as Democrats continue to vote for George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney.
This election is not just important for Marion County; it is important for all Americans. Since President Obama took office, our nation has moved in a direction of more governmental control with greater federal influence over our health care, banking, farming, automobile industry and even our religious organizations. These are not Marion County values.
What has happened since 2009 will be magnified in the next four years if changes do not occur. It is imperative that voters know the issues and crucial that you make your voice heard.
Regardless of your political party affiliation, please vote in this pivotal election. If you are unable to vote in the county on Nov. 6 you are eligible to vote absentee by mail or to vote early in-person.
For the past 20 years, local Republicans have been chipping away at the once-dominant force of a single-party system. Increasingly, more Marion County Democrats are willing to cross party lines to vote for Republicans because it isn't about the party, it is about the candidate that best represents your values.