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AZ Lawmakers Want to Stop Funding Presidential Primaries

CBS News

Presidential primaries in Arizona are known as the Presidential Preference Election. A bill under consideration in the House would cut all state funding for those elections and make paying for them the responsibility of political parties. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.

A presidential preference election costs about $10 million. The legislature cut $6 million last year from the state’s presidential primary budget, and now officials are looking for alternatives.

The preference election is the only election in the state not open to Independents. Secretary of State Michele Reagan says because Independents make up the largest group of voters in Arizona, the state shouldn’t pay for primaries that are closed to them. Reagan also says without state funding, Republicans and Democrats could decide how they pick presidential primary delegates.

Doug Ballard with the Coconino County Democratic Party says if the state cuts funding to presidential preference elections, it would neglect its responsibility to promote democratic participation.

If passed, the bill would apply to the 2020 presidential election. Arizona residents have until February 22nd to register with a political party in order to vote in this year’s presidential preference election.

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