State Sen. Lee Bright, the leading challenger to U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, has pre-filed a bill that would close S.C. primaries.
The bill, S.895, would not allow people to vote in a partisan primary "unless the person has registered as being a member of that party." The bill would also allow people to register to vote as Republicans or Democrats, allowing the State Election Commission to collect data on how many Republicans or Democrats are in the state.
The bill would take effect "upon the signature of the governor," so it's possible it could be in effect for the 2014 primary elections. A closed primary would likely help Bright, a Tea Party favorite. Graham's supporters tend to be traditional Republicans and independents. But under Bright's proposal, independents would not be allowed to vote in the primary unless they register as a Republican.
Twenty-three states have closed primaries, according to The Center for Voting and Democracy. This issue has come up in South Carolina before, usually with the state's high-profile presidential primaries.