For more than a year, election officials have been planning on two primary elections — one in March for the presidential contenders, and a second in May for seats on everything from the school board to the U.S. Senate. Now, House and Senate leaders say they are considering a shift to just one primary that would take place March 15, the same time as the presidential primary. Adam Ragan, who leads Gaston County’s Board of Elections, said a single March primary could pose problems. “Logistically, I think it would be very difficult to get all the ducks lined up,” said Ragan, who heard about the possibility of a single primary election last week.
Primaries for state and local races are now scheduled to take place May 3. Area lawmakers said no decision has been made on whether to switch to a single date, but they expect that to be up for debate this week.
County governments shoulder much of the financial burden for holding elections. A countywide election in Gaston County costs between $175,000 and $225,000, Ragan said. Statewide, having just one primary would save several million dollars for local governments. The last statewide election cost governments at least $9.5 million, according to a report from The Associated Press.