Ballot Access News is reporting that U. S. district Judge Allen Pepper has blocked the Democratic Party in its effort to keep James Lowe off the Democratic primary ballot for mayor of the Washington County city of Leland. The Democrats’ motivation is that Lowe had recently been a member of the Republican Municipal Executive Committee.

Pepper said that there is no basis in either state law or Democratic Party rules to deny Lowe a place on the May 5 primary ballot. The Democrats had adopted a rule that anyone who had served on another party’s municipal executive committee could not run as a Democrat, but they did not do so until after Lowe had filed for mayor.

It remains to be seen whether the Democrats will appeal to the 5th U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

Mississippi could, of course, avoid situations like the one in Leland by changing to the system now used by the big majority of U. S. municipalities: nonpartisan elections (“open primaries”), in which there are no party primaries, and all candidates run in the same election.