By Bob Salsberg, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s top elections official says Massachusetts would not be able to hold a presidential primary next year under Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s state budget proposal.

Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, told lawmakers on Tuesday that the spending plan “drastically” underfunds his elections office and he said if the money was not restored, the primary scheduled for March 1 could not be held.

Galvin says an alternative would be told hold party caucuses instead of a direct vote for presidential candidates.

The Baker administration did not immediately comment on Galvin’s warning.

The testimony came during the first public hearing on the governor’s $38 billion state budget request for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Baker has said the budget closes a $1.8 billion structural gap between anticipated revenues and spending.

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