Actually, it doesn’t sound crazy at all, and just might save Georgia taxpayers some money. Below is a letter from Sandy Springs City Councilman Gabriel Sterling to hold the Presidential preference primary and the partisan primaries on the same day. It would save the Counties the cost of holding two elections in one year, and might get Georgia a bit more national attention in the Presidential nomination process next year -or at least, no less than we have received in the past. It’s worth discussing, in light of Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s announcement tomorrow.
And does anyone know why we have these two election on separate dates?
Dear Georgia Colleague,
I wanted to take a moment to share an idea with you that could potentially save every county in Georgia, and therefore their taxpayers, money next year.
Being 2012, we are scheduled to have a Presidential Preference Primary and a General Primary. My question, and one also asked by many I have talked to, is “Why”?
For as long as I can remember, we have had these two elections separate out of tradition. Many believe that Georgia separated the two so that local Democrats would not have to share the same ballot as the national Democrats. But if we combined the General Primary and the Presidential Preference Primary to the same day, it would save millions of taxpayer dollars across all 159 counties of Georgia.
Here are a few examples of costs for countywide elections in Georgia (numbers from a quick gleaning of published reports):
Athens/Clarke County: $52,000
Cobb County: $400,000
Fulton County: $980,000
I know that every Georgia county has been looking at cuts to their budgets. Here the State Legislature and the Secretary of State can help them out.
I write this knowing that the Secretary of State has been given the ability to set the date of the Presidential Preference Primary. This was done so Georgia could be in the mix to have an impact on the GOP nominating process (as President Obama appears will avoid any serious primary challenge). In 2008, we had the earliest Presidential Preference date in decades -on February 5. Generally, we have held our Presidential Primaries in early March. However, in none of these has Georgia played a major role on the GOP side.
There are new rules in place from the Republican National Committee governing the nominating process. The traditional early states (Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina) may hold their nominating processes in February. Any other state may hold their caucus or primary in March, but only if they apportion delegates proportionally. So if a candidate receives 25% of the vote, they get 25% of that state’s delegates. Any
remaining states wanting to keep the traditional “winner take all” for delegates, must hold their events in April or later.
Here is the GOP Presidential Primary and Caucus calendar as of today:
February 6: Iowa Caucuses
February 14: New Hampshire Primary
February 18: Nevada Caucuses
February 28: South Carolina Primary
February 28: Arizona Primary(in violation of RNC rules)
February 28: Michigan Primary (in violation of RNC rules)
March 6 (Super Tues):Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas,
Vermont and Virginia Primaries, Colorado and Idaho Caucuses
By March 6, the GOP nominee will likely be pretty clear. If Georgia is forced to dilute its delegates by proportional representation, that will handicap us at the National Convention. So why would we do that? The Legislature has already moved the General Primary date once to July 31. Why not move the date again to June 12 or 19? There is no other state having a primary or a caucus on that day. Georgia would have the sole media
attention. Further, if the nomination is still in doubt, we would have the single largest group of delegates to fight for of any state left.
If you asked the County Commissioners in your area, I am sure they would appreciate the help in easing their budget burdens …no matter how many dollars we are taking about.
For this to work, the Legislature, Governor and Secretary of State must work together. Saving a few million taxpayer dollars in these tight budgetary times is something I’m sure we all could agree with.
If you have any questions for me, please feel free to email me at [email protected]
PS: This proposal is my own opinion. It is not meant to reflect the opinion of the City of Sandy Springs or any of its officials other than myself.