WA suspends 2012 prez primary, saving $10 million

WA suspends 2012 prez primary, saving $10 million

Washington lawmakers have approved a plan sponsored by Secretary of State Sam Reed and Gov. Chris Gregoire to suspend the 2012 presidential primary, to save over $10 million.

The state will use the Iowa-style precinct caucus-convention process as the fallback system, and will return to conducting the more broadly based presidential primary in 2016.

The House voted 69-28 on Tuesday in support of the Senate-passed plan, which was forwarded to the Governor for her signature.  The Senate vote earlier in April was 34-15.  A number of lawmakers on both sides of the vote said they vastly favor the primary over the old caucus system that draws many fewer participants and excludes overseas voters, including the military, and house-bound people or those who are working during caucus time.

Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, the prime sponsor, called it “a difficult decision we have to make during a difficult economic climate.”

Secretary Reed agreed:

“We absolutely prefer the presidential primary to the old caucus system.  In any other year, we’d be the LAST people to suggest not holding the 2012 presidential primary.  But $10 million is a lot of money when the budget gap is $5 billion and there are so many needs out there, and the voters have compelled Olympia to solve the crisis without new taxes.”

The Secretary noted that the primary was created by a citizen initiative to the Legislature in 1989 and draws more than 10 times the turnout of the caucuses — 1.4 million versus less than 100,000 in 2008, for instance.

Reed hailed the Legislature’s strong vote on the bill, and commiserated with those who wish that it weren’t necessary. He said when the presidential primary is resumed in 2016, he hopes to see a requirement that the two political parties use the results 100 percent for allocating delegates.  Democrats have never used the results and Republicans typically have allocated half of their national convention delegates through caucuses and half through the primary.

The caucus process involves neighborhood gatherings where participants sign in for a particular candidate. The candidates’ relative strength then is reflected in elections to county/legislative district gatherings and congressional district and state conventions.  Caucus strength sets the general proportion of delegates. Caucuses also include platform discussion and usually last an hour or more.

The presidential primary, conducted by mail over almost a three-week period, has allowed voters to select one party’s ballot and choose their favorite nominee for the White House.

Reed reminded voters that today’s action in no way affects the regular Top 2 state primary in August. Beginning next year, that primary will be held two weeks earlier, the first Tuesday in August, under terms of legislation passed recently. The same bill also allows electronic return of voted-ballots from our military and overseas voters.

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7 thoughts on “WA suspends 2012 prez primary, saving $10 million

  1. This is a poor excuse for eroding the rite of an american voter. How do you expect the republican party to make their choice for president…. Oh wait you think these sniveling liberals on the west side can make that choice for us……. I can now see Millions being spent to fight this take over of VOTER RITES

  2. This sounds to us as something you are using to keep the military, those gainfully employed and the elderly out of the voting process and extremely close to being racist, chauvinistic, bigoted, prejudiced and discriminatory. You are taking away the military right to vote while they are protecting America’s right to vote. You are placing into the hands of the few the decision process, which should be the right of all the people in Washington State. This is more in line with the communist manefesto than it is with the State Constitution and our rights as American citizens and our right to vote. You are trying to save money in the wrong places!!

  3. I guess I’ll just have to wait until the General Election to vote for my choice for President since I’m an overseas voter. Glad to save the state some money, but voting is a right – not a privilege.

    There must be a way for those of us who cannot attend caucuses get a way to voice our preference on something as important as the next President of the United States.

  4. all I have to say is “Thanks alot” Guess this is just another way to stifle Rep. voters, because the dems are AFRAID!!!

    so, yeah, THANKS ALOT

  5. So we send hundreds of thousands of our youngest, strongest, best, and brightest, spreading them from pillar to post, to what? Protect the United States against terrorism? Oh, to spread Democracy in the Middle East, to ensure they can vote in their own elections? But the powers that be in Washington State and on Capitol Hill can jus arbitrarily usurp those very rights away from Washigtonians without batting an eye and then giving a half baked apology for it? Sorry Governor, sorry Reed, this doesn’t fly with we Republicans who have a right to this vote as do the others in other states. What in Hell could you have been thinking? This doesn’t fly on many counts, and just illustrates even further how little those whom have been trusted as our elected officials, cannot be trusted at all. I see by the posts here that there will be some backlsh for this decision, but in my view it is not nearly enough because you are smugly sitting atop your pedistals thinking ~ oh well, what are they going to do about it?”. Disgusted with our government in California!

  6. I’ll admit I’m conflicted, and thank goodness I’m not a Washingtonian. I’m all about discouraging the apathetic from voting, but taking this measure in order to save money is pretty low.

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