If you've been watching MTV over the past few days, you may have seen Kyle — MTV News' primary of one. The MTV Choose or Lose news team went to New Hampshire earlier this week to find a voter who wanted to vote in the primary but had not yet selected a candidate, and to ferry them to as many political events as possible in 36 hours to help them make a choice.
After a whirlwind tour and careful consideration of all the candidates in the Democratic primary, Kyle had made his decision. "Today when I woke up I was fully intending and prepared to vote for Wesley Clark," he told us on Tuesday. But when Kyle went to cast his vote in the Democratic primary he found that he had overlooked one little thing.
Four years ago, the first time he had voted in a presidential election, Kyle registered as a Republican, following in the political footsteps of his parents. He cast a vote for then-governor Bush and went on his way. What Kyle didn't realize was that his registration four years ago would be a major factor for him in this election. As a registered Republican, he couldn't vote in this year's Democratic primary.
"I went down to the polls and I wanted to register and change my party affiliation," Kyle said. But when he spoke to the poll workers he got a little lesson in primary laws.
In New Hampshire, as well as many other states, if you want to change your party affiliation, you have to do it months in advance of the actual primary. In New Hampshire that deadline was October 31, 2003.
Although he left the polls on Tuesday without casting a vote, he didn't leave without a plan. Kyle was a quick study in the New Hampshire system and found that if he was registered as an Independent, come next primary season, he could wait until the last minute to decide if he wanted to vote Republican or Democrat.
So take a lesson from Kyle and learn the ins and outs of your state's primaries. If you are unsure of your state's primary-election process, jump over to our partners Project Vote Smart. They'll help you learn the ropes in your state.
Choose or Lose archive.