After the 2000 Presidential Election had been concluded, I began to consider and try to identify the failings of our Primary Elections; with the intent to improve the responsiveness of the election process to all of our citizens. Among the concerns which were voiced again in that election cycle, were the twin matters that (1) the eventual party nominee emerged far too early in the process to provide for a sufficiently spirited debate of the issues from any challenger, and (2) the High Electoral College (EC) States are bunched too closely together.
Were the United States composed of “national” or a “parliamentary” government, such concerns would be mute. However, because we are a “Federal” government, our electoral systems, policies and practices must address the regional geographical and demographics needs of our nation. Accordingly, the time is now upon us to develop and enact, by all States and Voting Federal Territories which conduct Primary Elections, something with I’ll refer to as: The Uniform Primary Election Act (UPEA) which shall contain the following provisions:
1st - Establish Eight (8) Primary Regions: Based upon the (then most current) 1990 census data, as applied to the number of votes assigned by the Electoral College
A) Establish 8 Voting Regions - The average size of each “voting region” would be approximately 54 Electoral Votes each.
B) Identify 8 of our largest “Key States” (currently: New York, Illinois, Texas, Washington, California, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) which as a group comprise a total of 205 Electoral Votes or 47% of the total 435 available.
C) Group together: one Key State and summation of other states and territories falling within the same general, geographical region (Related States); such that each region is of the approximate same number of Electoral Votes (See the Example which is contained within Appendix “A”)
D) The Regional Grouping facilitates more effective use of media and staffing resources.
NOTE: it would be possible for a candidate to campaign in ONLY the Key State of each Region, or ONLY in the Related States of each region, depending upon the level of campaign resources.
2nd Geographical Occurrence:
Regional Primaries should be held in order, so as to allow the maximum amount of candidate exposure, while minimizing the administrative effort needed. Naturally the results of the early regional activates will influence the votes in regions who later in the process, however the grouping of the Electoral Votes in blocks will maintain the viability of each region, and thus the voters interest in the process.
It is important to consider that Region 4 contains the widest geographical dispersion and the most number of State Primaries (17), thus it needs to be scheduled later in the process, so that its voters can obtain the benefits of media exposure which is generated in the preceding regions. A proposed schedule is contained within Appendix “B”
By combining and coordinating our nation’s primary election process into a uniform statute, the UPEA will:
- save money, by allowing candidates to focus their limited resources
- save time, by consolidating the election process
- insure that all citizen’s have the ability to influence the election process
Appendix “A” Description of Regional Primary Regions based upon Electoral College (EC) Election Values (a)
Region Large State (EC); % of Region Other States and Territories Total EC
(b) (c ) (T)
1(d) NY (31) 57% CN, ME, MA, NH*, RI, VT 54
2 IL (20) 34% IO, MI, MN, WS 58
3 TX (30) 54% AK, LA, MS, OK 56
4(e) WA (9) 17% AL, AS, AZ, CO, GU(t), HA, ID,
KS, MT, NB, NM, ND, OR, SD,
UT, WY 53
5(f) CA (52) 96% NV 54
6 FL (23) 40% AL, GA, MS, NC, PR(t), SC, VI(t) 58
7 OH (19) 40% IN, KY, TN, WV 47
8 PA (21) 38% DE, DC(t), MD, NJ, VA 55
TOTAL (205) 47% 435 100%
a. EC = # of Electoral College distribution following the 1990 Census
b. Each region contains approximately the same number of electoral votes are
the other regions.
c. Each region is dominate by a “large state” who’s Electoral Advantage is wholly or
partially offset by the sum of Electoral votes contained within the other states of
the region (except Region 5 - see “f” below).
d. Region 1 contains the historical New Hampshire “First in the National Primary”.
In order the preserve New Hampshire’s tradition of being the “First in the National
Primary”; this Act should be designed as to permit the NH primary voting to begin
at 07:30 Hr.( ½ hour earlier than all other states in Region #1), and all other states
in this region shall be required to close their election polling booths at 20:30 Hr.
( ½ later than NH); thus preserving this quaint, historical custom
e. Region 4 contains the widest geographical dispersion and the most number of State
Primaries (17), thus it needs to be scheduled later in the process, so that voters in
these States can obtain the benefits of media exposure which is generated in the
f. Region 5 is dominated by California.
Appendix “B” Election Occurrence of Primary Regional Rotation
Month 1st Tuesday of the Month 3rd Tuesday of the Month EC Count Dispersion
February 1 (*) 6 112 26%
March 7 4 (e) 212 49%
April 8 3 232 74%
May 2 5 (f) 435 100%