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California Could Save Money By Moving Primary – Again

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Few Turning Out For Early Voting

(AP)

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SACRAMENTO (KCBS) – California lawmakers were poised this week to consider a bill that would return California’s presidential primary to a later date – a move that could save the cash-strapped state millions of dollars.

The state’s presidential primary date has become something of a yo-yo. Since 1996, the state experimented with elections in February and March, jockeying for a perceived prime position.  Lawmakers moved the date of the primary in hopes of exerting more influence over the outcome of the election, only to see other states leapfrog over California.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

“We didn’t have any more influence when we moved it up anyway, because 33 other states moved it up,” reasoned Assemblyman Paul Fong (D-Cupertino). “We would have been more influential if we kept it on the June date because we would have determined who the presidential candidates would have been.”

Fong, who chairs the Assembly Elections and Redistricting committee, planned to bring a bill before his committee colleagues Tuesday, in hopes of changing the date of the California primary as early as 2012.

“It will move the presidential primary from the first Tuesday in February and it will be consolidated with the statewide direct primary in June,” he explained. “We’ll save $100 million and every penny counts.”

Fong speculated that moving the presidential primary would improve voter turnout, plus spare the state and counties from footing the bill for two elections – a presidential primary on one date and a local election on a second date.

“There’s no opposition,” he triumphantly declared. “In fact, I have bipartisan support.”

Fong was equally confident that Gov. Jerry Brown would support the bill.

“I think the governor will sign it. He’s really frugal and he likes to save pennies also, and this will save a lot of pennies.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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