Missouri Sec. of State asks lawmakers to end presidential preference primary election

Published: Feb. 3, 2020 at 5:37 PM CST
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Missouri's Republican Secretary of State thinks the Presidential Preference Primary in Missouri is a waste of time and money.

"[It's] an election that really has no bearing on the presidential race," Sec. Jay Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft explained why during a State House Budget Committee Hearing last week.

"We ignore the results and then we have a caucus that actually chooses delegates to choose who goes to the national conventions," Ashcroft noted.

Ashcroft also said holding this special primary every four years is expensive.

"We could save $9.1 million immediately every four years, plus interest," Ashcroft told lawmakers.

"It is a lot of money the state could use for something else," said Camden County Clerk Rowland Todd.

Todd says this is only election the state reimburses counties for. The state estimates Camden spends $70,000 on this election. Todd says it's likely much more.

"They don't charge rental on the equipment, which is how we buy new equipment down the line," Todd said. "I'd almost estimate if they paid like everybody else does, that cost could be up to $11 Million."

Absentee voting has been open since last Tuesday. So far only eight people have walked in to cast a ballot.

"You would think the turnout would be big, but it's not," Todd said.

KY3/KSPR's Andrew Havranek

asked Missouri's House Minority Leader, Springfield Democrat Rep. Crystal Quade for her thoughts. In a statement, Quade said,

"The primary system empowers Missouri voters to decide how their party's delegates are distributed among the presidential candidates. Returning to a caucus system in which few Missourians participate would shift those decisions to the political party officials. Eliminating the primary would be a huge step backward and greatly diminish the influence of the voters in the presidential nominating process."

If lawmakers vote to end the presidential preference primary, it would not affect the 2020 election on March 10.