Saturday, December 10, 2011

Time to consider ending taxpayer-funded political party presidential preference elections

Sen. Steve Gallardo

December 9, 2011

The Honorable Janice K. Brewer
Arizona Govemor
Executive Tower
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Dear Governor Brewer:

It is time to look at eliminating the presidential preference election in Arizona. The preference election costs taxpayers millions of dollars for what is really a political party function. Moreover, about one third of registered voters in Arizona, those who are independent, cannot even participate yet must still help pay the bill.

The state has budgeted $3.4 million for the election. While these funds help reimburse the counties, they cover only a portion of the total costs. The money should be used to create jobs and improve education in Arizona. There are alternatives to the presidential preference election that as a state we should explore.

The Arizona Democratic Party just announced that it will not participate in this year’s presidential preference election to save taxpayers money. The party will instead choose its nominee and convention delegates through party-funded caucuses. A number of states use the caucus system, including Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington, Idaho and Maine.

If you believe it is too late for the state to abandon this year’s presidential preference election, we should use the upcoming legislative session to consider a new system after 2012. The political parties in Arizona can decide their preferred candidate for the Presidency in some other fashion. Arizona taxpayers should no longer be asked to foot the bill, especially when more than one million registered voters are left out.

I hope to work with you and other Republican leaders to get this done.

Senator Steve M. Gallardo
District 13

Original letter can be downloaded here.

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