Alabama May Change, Join Primary Dates

Monday, 02 May 2011 04:34 PM

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Alabama lawmakers are considering a bill to move the state’s presidential primary date to save money and avoid possible penalties from the national political parties, the Birmingham News reported Sunday.

Under the bill, Alabama’s primary elections would alternate every two years between June and March. In presidential primary years, the elections would take place the second Tuesday in March. The other years, primary elections for state offices would be on the first Tuesday in June.

Alabama now convenes two primary elections in presidential election years: one in February for president, and one in June for all other offices.

Proponents of changing the system say Alabama can’t afford the $3.9 million two primary elections cost.

 "It's all about saving tax dollars for me," said state Rep. Steve Clouse, an Ozark Republican and sponsor of the bill.

For years, Alabama held its primary elections in June. Lawmakers changed the date in 2008 to February. But now, the National Republican Party and its Democratic counterpart vowed to impose penalties on states that hold primaries or caucuses before the first Tuesday in March, except for Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.

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