February 8, 2012

State GOP considers switching to presidential primary

Could a presidential primary be in Nevada's future? Following Saturday's derided GOP caucus, it might be:

A straightforward primary election is easier to conduct, and after Saturday’s troubled Republican caucuses, the state’s political leaders are now suggesting they’re ready to switch.

Final results from Saturday’s caucuses weren’t released until Monday, and turnout fell well below expectations, with more than 10,000 fewer Republican voters than showed up in 2008.

Republican lawmakers are talking of submitting bills for the next legislative session to switch to a primary.

Carol Howell, a member of the state Republican Party’s executive board, said she collected hundreds of signatures from caucusgoers who want to switch to a primary process.

“There are too many voters who can’t make a three-hour window,” she said.

The upsides of conducting a primary are that it is a more familiar process and a shorter time commitment for participants. The downsides are that it would cost around $1 million and the parties would have less control over the process.