The House voted Wednesday to repeal the state-funded version of the presidential primary, though the move won’t affect this year’s election set for March. House Speaker David Gowan, R-Sierra Vista, sponsored the measure that would repeal the state-funded Presidential Preference Election and reimburse more than $6 million to counties for the costs of administering the 2016 election. The House passed House Bill 2567 on a 37-22 vote Wednesday. The proposal now moves to the Senate. If passed, the repeal would leave the fate of future versions of the Presidential Preference Election to political parties that will need to raise their own funds to hold elections.
That left Democrats with concerns future elections could be open to outside influence. “It begs the question who would be trying to fund these elections and to what purpose?” asked Rep. Ken Clark, D-Phoenix, when explaining his vote on the House floor.
Others, including Rep. Bruce Wheeler, D-Tucson, and Rep. Kate Brophy McGee, R-Phoenix, said they don’t think taxpayers should be footing the bill for political parties, especially when Arizona’s largest voting bloc, independents, can’t cast their vote for primary candidates.