Panel Proposes New Calendar for Primaries

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A private commission led by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III is proposing new steps to strengthen state election procedures and recommending that Congress require the political parties to hold four regional presidential primaries in election years rather than allowing states to hold primaries whenever they wish.

The bipartisan panel, called the Commission on Federal Election Reform, said it was responding to flaws in the system exposed by the elections of 2000 and 2004.

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Jeff Vanke - 9/19/2005

If we're going to reform the primary system, why not go all the way?

Some current good features: (1) In a nation as large as ours, different primaries dates lower the financial barrier to entry, which most probably agree is a good thing. (2) The fact that we have primaries at all, as opposed to smoke-filled rooms choosing candidates.

But to truly democratize the primaries, we need to take the political parties out of them. That is, the United States should use a system more like Louisiana's open primaries.

Perhaps one-eighth (or so) of the states could vote in primaries every other week, with the rotation itself to rotate every four years.