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Can Massachusetts Afford 2012 Presidential Primaries?

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420x316-grad-stevens1 Carl Stevens
Carl Stevens is an award-winning general assignment reporter for WBZ...
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BOSTON (CBS) – There’s a possibility that Massachusetts won’t be able to participate fully in the next presidential election.

Secretary of State Bill Galvin says there’s not enough money to run a primary in March 2012, according to Gov. Deval Patrick’s budget for the next fiscal year.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens spoke with Sec. Galvin.

“The number that was submitted by the governor despite the fact that he suggested, or his administration suggested, that it would be a 2 percent cut, in fact is a far more drastic cut. My budget will go down anyways for the coming fiscal year in the elections area because we have one fewer election in the upcoming fiscal year than we did in the last, but nevertheless, it’s a problem to run this March 6, 2012 event based upon the numbers they’ve submitted,” Galvin told WBZ.

Galvin said he offered up suggestions for alternatives to the 2012 primary elections.

“I asked the legislature during my testimony yesterday on the budget to increase the line item, which I know it was a difficult thing given the circumstances of the year, or I suggested to them they could of course cancel the primary, and we could go to a caucus system,” Galvin said.

The combination of the upcoming presidential primaries and the necessary political reorganization of the state after the 2010 Census unfortunately happened during an economic crunch.

“If I were to spend all of the money on the primary, I then wouldn’t have any money for the rest of the election department’s activities: the local elections where we supervise, but also preparing for the regular state elections and the presidential election in 2012. So, all of that has to be done,” said Galvin.

He said he hopes the elections can still go on as scheduled.

“It’s my earnest hope that the legislature will find the money to help us continue the tradition of having a voter participatory primary,” said Sec. Galvin.

Galvin said his office needs an extra $3.5 million in the budget.

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