Friday, January 25, 2008

pay for your own stinkin' primary

From Fort Wayne Observed, a nice little observation that is oft-overlooked about the nature of political primaries-- and who pays for them...

Recently, discussion was fueled by the Sheperd - Kernan Commission's suggestion that Indiana municipal elections be moved to an even-numbered year in order to save cities and towns the money paid to county election boards to conduct elections.

My prediction is that, at some point, the general public may wonder why the two major parties don't have to pay to hold primary elections. As voter turn-out in primaries has declined, taxpayers may wonder why they are footing the bill for what are essentially partisan exercises.

Which brings us to the South Carolina presidential primaries. The Republican presidential primary was held last weekend; the Democratic presidential primary is being held tomorrow.

How does South Carolina justify the expense of two separate primaries to its citizens? I suspect that the South Carolina television and radio stations which benefited are not editorializing very heavily on this question.

In sum, as I wrote in reply: If the political parties paid for their own primaries, this would take care of itself.

I'm not as optimistic as FWO-- even with declining turn-out, as long as most people belong to parties that use taxpayer-financed primaries, they are likely to enjoy the obvious benefits while sticking us with the subtle costs.


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