The Primary Cost

In today’s issue of The Daily News Record, Jeff Mellott’s Primary Price Tag:  $32,000 discusses the cost of the recent Democratic primary and it isn’t pretty.  In Harrisonburg and Rockingham County alone, the bill to local taxpayers was around $32,000.  Now I know that there are certainly a lot of fixed costs with holding such a contest, nevertheless, given the low voters turnout, the average cost per voter in Harrisonburg was $9.38, while the cost in Rockingham was even higher…$17.50!  I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t have paid $9.38 to vote in the Democratic primary, much less $17.50.  However, given that this bill is widely dispersed among the taxpayers, no one complains.  On the other hand, a convention costs non-participating voters nothing.  But, Joshua, you say, you spent well over $100 to join fellow Republicans in Richmond.  Wouldn’t you have preferred to pay less?  Sure I would have, but, then again, I care enough about the future of the RPV to make such an expenditure.  Should I force my friends and neighbors to defray that cost?

I believe that the high cost to turnout ratio, coupled with the relatively low voter interest (4.2% turnout in the city and 3% in the county) and potential crossover voting, make a strong argument in favor of nominating conventions (like the Republicans did) as opposed to primaries (like the Democrats did).  After all, who should foot the bill for party nominations?  Should it be the party faithful who willing give up both their time and money to participate in these functions?  Or should it be the average Virginia taxpayer, most of who don’t give 2¢ about whom the parties nominate?

So fellow Virginian, just speaking in terms of money, what should it be, the primary or the convention?  The choice is clear.