Phil Tran (who's doing wonderful things at Chesapeake Liason) makes the case that Virginia should continue to operate with an open primary system. As this primary process is dragging on and I'm becoming more and more disenchanted with the apperatuses of political parties, I think what Phil is talking about here makes sense. Republicans don't only govern Republicans, Democrats don't only govern Democrats. I can't out-do Phil's commentary so I'll just repost his best point:
Party registration will further institutionalize the two party system in Virginia. People will only have the option to check whether they are Democratic, Republican, or independent. Virginians are very diverse in their viewpoints and should not be pigeonholed into a dichotomy that has shown to be very fluid over past 200 years.
Government should not be in the business of identifying the political persuasions of the people. People, regardless of their privately held beliefs, should be encouraged to exercise sound judgment in the selection of their public officials and their decisions on ballot referenda. It is not the government’s business to know who one chooses to affiliate with.
A state that has no party registration forces political candidates and parties to reach out to all people with their message, thus engaging more people in the process. Through publicly available voter histories, candidates and parties already know the propensity of voters through their primary participation, but still have to personally verify their stances through voter contact.
Party registration would just make elections more of a numbers game than it already is. Candidates would be able to identify their own party members and opposition through state party registration and fight over independents instead of reaching out to all voters. Without party registration, candidates would take more time interacting with unidentified voters and run into more people with opposing views. In my opinion, the latter is preferable because public policy in election law should encourage more discourse especially when the chance of hearing viewpoints from the opposing side is higher.
Most importantly, party registration is the step that is necessary to implement the ultimate goal which is closed primaries. I am strongly against closed primaries.
I would argue, as Phil does later in his post, that a closed primary system would be perfect if Democrats only governed Democrats and Republicans only governed Republicans.