Apr 19, 2012
By Susan Varghese
Standard Associate Editor
Local Republicans are technically still headed to the polls on Tuesday, April 24th to vote on the future GOP presidential nominee in New York’s primary. But, there’s a hitch. Former Senator Rick Santorum dropped out of the campaign, leaving the field to Mitt Romney, who was leading the primaries anyway. As a result, there is speculation as to whether the primary is even necessary.
Some local leaders don’t think so. “It’s unfortunate that we have three primaries – presidential on April 24th, congressional on June 26th, and state and local on September 11,” Congressional candidate, Frank Scaturro said. “I am concerned that voters will be confused by the multiple primaries have – it requires that much more resources to get voters out to, it also means there might be a lower turnout on all three primaries. We should really have all primaries on the same day. It’s unfortunate that we do not. If we had everything on the same day, you would save a lot of money, I don’t think it serves any interest to have three instead of one. You would have more people participating. There’s a convenience factor as well.”
Scaturro added, “I always thought that New York election laws should be a lot less cumbersome then they are. New York has more election litigation that all other states put together, which I think are a stinging indictment of how we do elections in this state. I wish the process was more simple and put the voters first.”
Cedarhurst Mayor Andre J. Parise is happy his choice is in the lead and said,” I was always for Romney anyway, so I’m happy he [Santorum] dropped out. Being that the names are all on the ballot, I guess they have to go through with it anyway. They delivered the machines and told us to be open at 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday.”
Legislator Howard Kopel doesn’t seen any use in changing it. “It’s already set, I don’t think they can legally do anything about it. Is there a point to have a primary? No… We know who it is. It’s too bad since it cost millions to run primaries locally- you have to staff all these voting locations.”
According to a report from the League of Women Voters (LWV), over the last three federal elections, New York had the 47th lowest voter participation rate of the 50 states and primary elections have even lower voter turnout yet.
In a statement to the LWV, Dennis Ward of the Elections Commissioners’ Association said, “The cost to local governments across the state for an additional third primary is estimated to be between $25 and $50 million dollars – amounts which have not been included in the 2012 budgets for the various Boards of Elections. Second, it is a disservice to our overseas personnel to be sending two sets of Primary Election ballots and then another two sets of General Election ballots…”
Despite opinions about the necessity of the primary, Scaturro voiced that it’s still important for people to vote. “I still do think it’s a small thing to ask to have voters to come out to make one of the most important decisions they can. If you don’t take part in the process, you can’t be surprised if the government makes decisions [you’re not pleased with].
According to a Huffington Post New York GOP primary poll done before Santorum suspended his campaign, an estimated 54 percent were voting for Romney, 21 percent for Santorum, nine percent for Newt Gingrich, and eight percent for Ron Paul.
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