Tuesday, July 12, 2005

New Jersey no longer last in presidential primaries

Last week, New Jersey Governor Richard Codey signed legislation that will move New Jersey’s last in the nation presidential primary from June to February. With the adoption of the bill, NJ joins an ever growing list of states that are moving their presidential primaries to the winter to “gain a greater voice in national politics.”

TYL has previously endorsed the idea of presidential electoral reform, calling specifically for open primaries that allow every American the opportunity to vote in either party’s Presidential primary. I’d like to take this reform one step further – to support the overhaul of the nation’s primary system to avoid the problems currently caused by state efforts to “ensure their voice is heard” by moving to the front of the presidential primary calendar.

The National Association of Secretaries of State proposed a plan for the 2004 presidential primaries that would group states regionally with the first region holding primaries in March, the second grouping in April, the third in May and the final region in June. The groups of states would rotate with each presidential season ensuring that each region was “first” every fourth election. Their plan may not be perfect but it would restore some sanity to the primary system, lengthening the primary season while the shortening the presidential campaign and reducing the reliance on money and TV advertising that currently hinders non-establishment candidates.

Note: Under the new measure in New Jersey, nominees for congressional and local offices will still be selected in June. The non-partisan NJ Office of Legislative Service estimates the presidential primary will cost $10.3 million in 2008.

The legislation will also allow voters to register later, giving them up to 21 days before an election to register to vote and permit any registered voter to cast an absentee ballot, eliminating a requirement that they provide a reason for not being able to vote in person on Election Day.


At 8:40 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

Ah yes,
I will add the Yellow Line to my initial blogroll.

The Daily Belch

At 10:16 PM, Blogger Jdeer165 said...

Being from New Jersey I'm not surprised by this. New Jersey has a bit of a self esteem or identity issue. I was from the Central part of the state where all the tv stations were New York City stations. The sports teams, arts, theater, etc...all were in the City. Trying to have more of a voice in the primaries may be an attempt to puff themselves up a bit.

At 7:50 AM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Hmmm...for me, a more fair distribution of primaries would be to have one large-population state vote at the same time as a group of smaller-population states.

I.E...California votes at the same time as Maine, North Dakota, Hawaii and Alaska.

Then, the next month we do the same thing using a different large state with smaller states.

We could avoid the whole mess of Super Tuesday primaries, whereby anyone who sweeps these primaries is generally considered the winner and any state who holds their primary after that date is SOL.

To me, that appears to be a more equitable distribution of power.

Or better yet, hold just one national primary election...just like the general election, but in a summer month. No fuss, no muss and no mess.

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this NASS plan sounds like a pretty good idea. Then candidates could set up shop in a region and make the rounds. They would probably visit a lot of smaller towns that currently get overlooked. Plus, with the states who go first rotating, every voter would feel like they are part of the process.
Why hasn't there been more coverage about this plan?


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