Secretary of State
Secretary Grayson Discusses Presidential Primary Problem in the U.S.
(Frankfort, KY) Appearing before the Interim Joint Committee on State Government’s Task Force on Elections, Constitutional Amendments & Intergovernmental Affairs, Secretary of State Trey Grayson told legislators that the presidential nomination process in the United State is the broken and is in desperate need of repair. Grayson, who is currently serving as the co-chair of National Association of Secretaries of State’s (NASS) Presidential Primary Committee, advocated for the country to adopt the Rotating Regional Presidential Primary Plan developed by NASS.
“The front-loading of the presidential primary process is detrimental to the democratic process. The principle focus of candidates is to build their war chests in order to compete in the gauntlet of early primaries instead of discussing how to govern and lead our nation,” stated Secretary Grayson. “The NASS Rotating Regional Presidential Primaries Plan is an efficient and effective way to nominate candidates for the general election, and we must see that action is taken on this issue so that we do not face an even earlier election cycle.”
The 2008 presidential nominating schedule is already the most frontloaded in U.S. history. Twenty-nine states will vote in January or February—more than three times the number that did so in 2000—and the number could grow to more than thirty. Fifteen states alone will vote on February 5, 2008, including the delegate rich states of California, Florida and New Jersey. Some experts believe the nominations will effectively be decided by this date.
This bipartisan NASS plan divides the country into four geographic areas – East, South, Midwest, and West – and rotates when each region votes, beginning with the first region in March. The other regions hold their primary elections in April, May, and June. The plan will start with a new region each presidential election cycle so that each part of the country votes first every sixteen years. New Hampshire and Iowa retain their early status to allow under-funded and less widely known candidates to compete through retail politics rather than the costly media-driven campaigns required in larger states.
The plan has been endorsed by the Commission on Federal Election Reform, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, as well as by the editorial boards of many prominent newspapers.
“Now is the time to start addressing the issue for 2012; it is already too late for 2008. If, like me, there are individuals out there that believe a better system exists, I encourage them to contact the leaders of their political parties and their elected officials and ask them to support the Rotating Regional Primary Plan. We cannot afford to wait another four years,” concluded Grayson.
Kentucky becomes one of the first states to act upon a resolution passed by NASS at its recent summer meeting which asked individual Secretaries of State to hold hearings on the plan and publicize the challenges that the upcoming primary presents. NASS is urging all interested parties to begin to address the issue in order to affect the 2012 presidential cycle.
For more information about the Rotating Regional Presidential Primaries Plan, please visit: www.nass.org.
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