Primary Concern: Does a Preliminary Election Matter? Yes

August 3, 2011

Should it really matter whether or not the city conducts a primary for the at-large council seat in the upcoming election?

It is, after all, required by the city charter but the council is advocating against the primary because it would cost too much.

On its face, not having a primary to save some money isn’t such a bad idea, especially when everyone’s name will appear on the ballot in November and at that time voters can vote for whom they please.

Primaries are generally used to whittle down a very large number of potential hopefuls to a more manageable number as dictated by the voters. In such a scenario, the weaker candidates are cut and only the strongest remain for the election final.

This year, a primary would only eliminate one candidate who is seeking an at-large spot. So the feeling is that all 11 names will appear on the ballot anyway, so what would be lost?

What is lost is the notion that primaries are a sacred part of the political system protected by the city charter.

This is no longer the case if the city council can and does seek Beacon Hill approval to sidestep it from time to time.

  • The reasoning given to not have a primary is it is too expensive. I agree. The taxpayer should not be saddled with the burden of a primary. However if this one is too expensive when times are bad primary elections held in the past when times were good were also too expensive. I am glad the council is suddenly concerned with saving the Revere taxpayer money. I just do not understand why they are only concerned when about dollar value when it disenfranchises Revere voters. If they want to show their solidarity with the taxpayer I suggest they start by eliminating their expense accounts that cost the taxpayer in excess of $60,000 a year. At the very least they could begin showing receipts publicly for what they spend.  If they eliminated their expense accounts and combined it with a 50% decrease in pay for the council and mayor we may be able to hire 2 more police and leave the council with a level of compensation  commensurate with many other cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

  • I am glad that Mike Carter has the same opinion of expense accounts that I have always had. I sent a letter to the Revere City Council 4 years ago about this matter. In fact I have another communication going before the city council August 22, 2011 requesting that a local law be adopted requiring receipts for any expense account reimbursement. I would hope those running for office would agree.

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