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Secretary of state: Arizona primary ‘taxpayer-funded beauty pageant’

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2012 file photo, votes are tallied during a caucus of precinct 42 near Smithland, Iowa. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver, File)

PHOENIX — Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan said the state’s presidential primary is nothing more than a “taxpayer-funded beauty pageant” because independent voters cannot participate.

“(Presidential primaries) have turned into taxpayer-funded beauty pageants, quite frankly, and a third of our state isn’t able to participate in them,” she said.

Under Arizona law, independent voters may only vote in November’s general election. Voters must be registered either as Republican or Democrat to cast a vote in the March 22 primary.

Reagan said she is working with state lawmakers to change the voting restrictions in time for the 2020 Arizona primary.

“I just think there is something fundamentally wrong with telling people that, if you can’t vote in something, you have to pay for it,” she said.

Reagan said, if the current system is not changed, there is no reason the political parties shouldn’t foot the estimated $9.6 million bill for the primary.

“I think that, if this is truly a party function, and the parties only allow their voters to vote in it, then the parties should be footing the bill,” she said.

For independents wanting to vote in this year’s primary, Reagan said they are able to re-register as either Democrat of Republican. They would then be able to revert to Independent after the primary with no penalty.

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