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Get Ready for an Earlier Primary

Frankly, in my opinion, it’s about time.  (From Wisconsin Reporter)

Wisconsin voters preparing for a politically loaded 2012 election period should be ready to adjust their calendars.

Lawmakers are trying to schedule all even-year statewide primary elections, held in the second Tuesday of September, at least a month earlier.

The change stems from a federal law approved in October 2009 that requires states to give military and overseas voters more time to receive, consider and submit their absentee ballots.

Under the Military and Overseas Empowerment Act, known as the MOVE Act, local election officials would have to send ballots overseas no closer than 45 days before a federal election upon request.

During the 2010 election, Wisconsin election administrators were constrained by the Sept. 14 state primary election and could not distribute official ballots overseas within that 45-day time frame.

The federal government and the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, the state agency that administers elections, settled in court on provisions for that election period that would allow additional time for both election administrators and overseas voters.

But with 2012 coming up, the Wisconsin GAB has recommended lawmakers permanently change the state primary election date for even-numbered years, when federal elections are held, to comply with the MOVE Act provisions.

The changes “will get done this year,” according to state Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, the chair of the Senate Transportation and Elections Committee.

I for one have never been a fan of Wisconsin’s late primary.  Let’s just get that out of the way.  I’ve felt an early September primary has been a “wink-wink agreement” between the two state parties for decades and is nothing more than a giant incumbent protection.  Most incumbents hate it because they have to (horr0r) actually campaign for more than two months (double-horr0r) and can no longer go into a money hording, then spending it all while their newly minted general election opponent is flat broke.

Secondly, this is about the MOVE Act and ensuring those who are fighting wars or serving overseas get their ballot on time and are able to participate in the very democracy they are defending.  If you don’t like that, and prefer the status quo, there is something seriously wrong with you.

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