Republican Arizona Secretary of State Michelle Reagan is reportedly working with legislators on a bill that would end taxpayer funding of presidential primaries in the state.
According to The Associated Press, Sec. Reagan’s elections director Eric Spencer said that ending taxpayer-funded primaries would save the state $10 million. He also argued that the legislation is necessary because independent voters are required to fund the Democratic and Republican parties’ primary contests but are not allowed to participate in them.
Spencer told The Arizona Capitol Times, “We want to return this to the political parties to run. And we believe that that’s a core function of a political party, to vet their nominees.”
The Arizona State Legislature slashed the Sec. of State’s budget by $6 million in 2015 to apply it to the upcoming presidential primary election.
The Arizona Republic’s Laurie Roberts wrote, “Adding to reasons why the GOP and Democrats don’t need party welfare? Fully a third of Arizona’s voters can’t even participate in the presidential primaries. Independents now comprise the largest and fastest growing voting bloc in the state yet they can’t vote in a presidential primary. They are, however, expected to pick up a share of the tab.”
“Inevitably, [ending taxpayer funding of primary elections] would mean there would be caucuses instead of presidential primaries in Arizona, because the parties could not afford to administer presidential primaries on their own,” said Ballot Access News’ Richard Winger, an election law expert.
In July of last year, the Truth in Media Project released a Consider This video highlighting the fact that independent voters now outnumber those who identify as Republicans and Democrats. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.