Our view: Republican flap offers bigger lesson | Opinion

You won’t see Ray Weter’s name on the Republican ballot in the upcoming primary election. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the presiding commissioner isn’t running for reelection, and it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to vote for him in the general election.

What it does mean is the Christian County Republic Central Committee has decided they would not like him to run as a Republican — and that Weter, should he choose to run anyway, must get enough signatures to appear on the general election ballot. 

It’s a hurdle, but one he says he’s “pretty confident” he’d be able to clear, if he chooses to pursue it.

In an era of partisan discord, it’s strange to see public infighting in a single political party. 

Weter believes he’s the target of a plan to eliminate candidates whose views don’t align with local party leadership. The CCRCC says it’s nothing personal — they just want to make sure the candidates they support fit the Republican brand. 

We see both sides of the disagreement.

The Republic Central Committee — or any party’s central committee, for that matter — has an obligation to serve the people who share their values and make sure they aren’t supporting, to adjust the old idiom, a donkey in elephant’s clothing. 

A party cannot, and should not, be forced to put forward a candidate whose values do not align with its own.

On the flip side of that coin, Weter’s voting records speak for themselves. Before serving on the county commission, he was a state representative, and was elected to both positions as a Republican. He believes himself to be a Republican. So why not let the electorate decide if he or someone else should be the party’s candidate come August? 

The idea that a relatively small group of people gets to determine what constitutes “correct” Republicanism seems to fly in the face of the principles that gird American democracy — even if it is legally and ethically permissible.

It’s safe to say there are some Republicans who think Weter’s done a good job, just as it’s clear there are some who disagree. In the space between those two positions, we think there’s a larger lesson to be learned: Voters must do their homework before each and every election.

It’s far too easy to ignore primary elections and fall into the routine of voting for the person with the (D) or (R) next to their name on the ballot during the general vote. 

We rarely stop to consider that doing so might mean allowing a candidate to slip into office lacking the experience, résumé and skills we believe matter. It might, in this case, mean voting against a presiding commissioner running for reelection because he has an unfamiliar (I) next to his name on the ballot.

In other words, you might not be actually voting for the government you want.

So educate yourself before you vote — in April, August and beyond. Visit candidates’ websites. Check out what the parties’ central committees are doing. Pick up our voter’s guide and read up on the candidates and their views. 

In the end, it’s up to each individual voter to make sure they know who is getting their support when they cast their ballot. 

And the best way to do that is to educate yourself.