States may cancel democracy to save money
15 Mar, 2011 16:16
A number of US states are considering canceling or delaying primary elections in order to save money and make up for state budget deficits.
The way in which Americans pick politicians to represent their party in general elections, including presidential election, has come under threat as states push to cut their budgets down to size. Thus far at least six states are considering measures to move or replace their 2012 presidential primaries, sacrificing the ability to participate in the democratic process to save a few bucks. Most plans call for scaled down systems which are moved further down the calendar, while other states are considering doing away with the electoral system and turning primaries over the political parties themselves to run as caucuses. Caucuses are party-run public gatherings where voters gather, mingle and coax neighbors to support their chosen candidate as opposed to a ballot based primary election. Currently about a dozen states utilize caucuses. In previous elections many states pushed their primaries forward, hoping to improve their agendas and give their states greater say in the elections. Ironically the opposite is now taking place, just a few years afterward. "This is democracy and we should participate in it," Alabama Republican Party Chairman Bill Armistead, who opposes delaying or canceling primaries told AP.Those who support the change argue the savings are simply too good to overlook, even if participatory democracy is the victim.