Primary elections – Daily Alta California, 3 August 1875


Here is a response from one of the people to our rallytag cry — that a popular victory must be won over popular sluggishness :


Editors Alta: When any one considers the great importance of our Primary elections, the very foundation and safeguard of our politics, and observes the indifference and lack of interest with which a great many of our best citizens regard the Primaries, he must come to the conclusion that they are in a great measure responsible for the election of unfit men to office. When it is considered that the Primaries to-day are ordered for the express purpose of giving every one the liberty to nominate candidates of their own choosing to be ballotted (sic) for at the general elections, it seems very unfair that those people who, through carelessness or indolence, stay away from the polls, are most always insinuating that Primary elections are put up jobs.

How silly and ridiculous seems such an excuse for their neglect of duty to their fellow-citizens, when it Is a well known fact that hardly more than one-twentieth part of the regular number of votes in a Ward are cast at a Primary election ; therefore should there be the least suspicion of underhanded work, or should the candidates be obnoxious to the majority of the voters in such Ward, it stands to reason that they have it in their power at such Primary election to defeat any ticket not to their liking, and elect candidates of their own by an overwhelming majority.

But no, it is too much trouble for them— they let the opportunity pass, and growl and complain on the day of the general election that there are no candidates to their liking, and generally do not come near the polls at all, sometimes causing thereby the defeat of their party, but always ready to fasten the blame on those faithful and industrious citizens who take interest in the welfare of the country and their fellowmen and struggle to make American politics a glory to the nation.

Americans, it is safe to say that one-half of your numbers are in a great measure responsible for, and the cause of most of the evil consequences resulting from a bad election. You are the very ones who stay away from the polls, regardless of how it will affect the welfare of the land of your birth. Whereas, you should be the leaders in politics in your own country, we find that through your neglect, naturalized foreigners are compelled to take your place, and a great many of you are content to follow in their wake.

For shame ! Although a naturalized citizen myself, I shall hail with delight the day when Americans will prove by their words and actions that it will not be necessary any more in politics for foreigners to think and act for them.

Of such, great importance is primary elections that it would not seem unreasonable to make It a law that no one should be allowed to vote at a general election who has wilfully (sic) neglected the opportunity to vote at the primaries.

Republicans, you have once more the opportunity to select your own candidates at the election to be held on Tuesday (to-day). Neglect not the chance, seek for no excuse to stay away. The election will be fair, square, and above all suspicion. You will only have yourself to blame if we do not win this fight so nearly won.

Turn out in force and show by your votes that our candidates are selected by the people, and are superior in every point and more to be trusted than the few broken down political hacks who secretly assemble and plot in a back room, nominate themselves for all the important offices, claim to be the people’s choice and call themselves Independents. May they be forgiven for their infamous imposition.

G. B.

San Francisco, August 2d, 1875.

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