Moving the Presidential Primary

New Jersey does not need to change the date of its presidential primary. This is a bad idea. It is bad now. It was bad a couple years ago when it was floated.

New Jersey’s presidential primary is in June, one of the last states to vote. The idea is to move the primary up to February, after Iowa and New Hampshire, but before Super Tuesday. The argument is that New Jersey will be a player in national politics. Please . . .

If every state rushes to be early, then the primaries are going to be earlier and earlier. As it is, there is a huge gap of inactivity between the end of the primary season and the conventions. Candidates are often out of money and can do little for a month or two until they receive their matching funds (if they opt for public financing).

And while New Jersey may not be a huge player presently in national politics, it is perfectly positioned to be should a primary ever be contested. We get to be the decision maker. Moving to February does not offer that. And frankly, shouldn’t primaries be contested? If they are not, then what difference does it make when the Garden State votes? It appears the studies support this.

There is a move afoot to consolidate elections here to save money and boost voter turnout. School board and municipal elections produce few voters. Moving a big primary to a winter month does not seem like it will produce more voters. It does sound like it will cost us more money while shortening the amount of time we have to learn about the candidates.

This is feelgood legislation. It will produce little. Impress upon your state senator that you expect him to attend to more important and meaningful matters.

Also blogged on this date . . .

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