Washington's presidential primary waste of money, time

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Because of the fiscal crisis, Gov. Chris Gregoire, a Democrat, and Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, are urging the Legislature to suspend the state's 2012 presidential primary to save $10 million.

Lawmakers should jump on the request.

And then they should pass legislation to cancel the presidential primary permanently.

The state's presidential primary is not just a waste of money, but also a waste of voters' time. The results mean nothing for Democrats and very little for Republicans.

And the rules for the presidential primary are more than annoying, they're outrageous. Voters who wish to vote in either the Democratic or Republican primary have to sign an oath - an oath that becomes a public record - declaring they are a Republican or Democrat.

The most recent Democrat oath says: "I declare that I consider myself to be a DEMOCRAT and I will not participate in the nomination process of any other political party for the 2008 Presidential election."

The most recent Republican oath says: "I declare that I am a member of the Republican Party and I have not participated and will not participate in the 2008 precinct caucus or convention system of any other party."

Republicans in 2008 allocated 51 percent of their delegates on the primary vote and the remainder based on the party caucuses.

Democrats decided the primary is nothing more than a political beauty contest. The results mean nothing as the Democrats' delegates will be allocated based solely on the caucus results.

We feel that if the parties want such tight control of this primary election then they, not the taxpayers, should foot the bill.

So if Republicans and Democrats want to bring back the primary in 2016, then they need to get out their checkbooks.

The parties should also amend their rules to allow the primary result to select who that party's delegates will back at the convention.

If the parties are footing the bill it would be their election, so we have no problem with them requiring their oaths. However, we would urge voters to think long and hard before signing any oath officially linking them with a political party.

But first things first. We urge the Legislature to lock in the $10 million savings and suspend the 2012 state presidential primary.

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