Judge rebuffs GOP; rules SC primaries remain open

AP News
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Posted: Mar 30, 2011 6:16 PM
Judge rebuffs GOP; rules SC primaries remain open

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by Republicans who were challenging South Carolina laws that allow citizens to vote in any primary without being a member of that political party.

U.S. District Judge Michelle Childs ruled Wednesday that Republicans have other methods to choose their nominees, like state conventions or petitions.

South Carolina's first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary has been won by the party's eventual nominee in each election since 1980. The contest is open to any registered voter in the state.

Republicans say open primaries allow party outsiders too much power. The GOP argued 25 other states require voters to register with a party before a primary.

A group of independent voters, tea party members and black lawmakers joined the state in fighting the lawsuit.