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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Presidential Preference Primary Could Go Back to June

The House Constitution, Campaigns and Elections Committee gave the green light to a bill that would return Alabama's presidential preference primary to June and likely save the state nearly $4 million in fiscal 2012 and every four years after.

Alabama lawmakers voted in 2006 to move the state's presidential preference primary from the first Tuesday in June to the first Tuesday in February in hopes of having a greater influence on the 2008 presidential contest. The move cost the state about $3.9 million, according to a Legislative Fiscal Office analysis.

State Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, is the sponsor of the a bill that would return the presidential preference primary to June.

"We passed this bill in a bipartisan manner, but, unfortunately, a lot of states did the same thing and we didn't gain as much exposure as we hoped we would," he said.

If the bill makes it into law it would restore the state's presidential preference primary to the first Tuesday in June. It also would delete language from the statute that allowed counties that recognize Mardi Gras as a holiday to be reimbursed for the cost of having an election on that day.

Deleting that section will save the state an additional $250,000 for any fiscal year that the presidential preference primary would have been held the same day as Mardi Gras.

-- Markeshia Ricks

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Location: Montgomery, AL, United States

South Union Street is the blog of Montgomery Advertiser political reporters Markeshia Ricks and Sebastian Kitchen. Always check here for the latest on the Legislature, elections and other activities and players in Alabama.

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