If for no other reason, consideration should be given to eliminating presidential primary elections due to the cost. Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Missouri’s top election official, favors doing away with the presidential primaries, held every four years.
The cost saving to the state would be $7 million to $10 million, according to Ashcroft.
Critics say elimination of presidential primaries would be denying people the right to vote. Ashcroft counters by saying people can attend party caucuses in their counties and their voices would be heard. In a visit to the county seat of Franklin County in Union last week he said in Missouri presidential candidates are chosen by caucuses at the county level, which renders county primary elections moot.
It is true that many people are reluctant to attend county party caucuses and voice their opinions. More and more people do not want to identify themselves as a member of a political party.
Ashcroft said he is going to approach the governor and lawmakers about holding a special session this summer to consider legislation to do away with the March 2020 presidential primary elections. The secretary of state said he understands the cost to hold a special session, but if it can save $7 to $10 million it is worth considering, he explained.
We doubt if a special session will be called on the issue. We know some lawmakers would be opposed to doing away with presidential primaries.
The fear is that people would not attend party caucuses in their counties. They would be more likely to vote in a presidential primary election.
The cost of a special session also is high. If there is little hope of the governor and lawmakers approving a special session, it appears the wise thing to do would be to do more homework to determine what the general attitude of lawmakers and the governor is before requesting a special session.
There is merit in considering all the costs involved in doing away with presidential primaries in Missouri. And, of course, the people, the voters, must be given top consideration.
It is a mixed issue, like so many political matters.