Ashcroft discusses the potential of ending Missouri's presidential preference primary election

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft visit Johnson County on Tuesday, July 30.

WARRENSBURG — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft visited Johnson County on Tuesday, July 30.

Johnson County was the first of six stops for Ashcroft on Tuesday as he met with county clerks in Johnson, Henry, Bates, Saint Clair, Vernon and Barton counties.

The focal point during his Johnson County stop was whether or not to get rid of or keep the presidential preference primary election in Missouri.

Ashcroft said he contacted election authorities throughout the state to see where they stood on getting rid of the preference primary.

About 80 election authorities get back with Ashcroft’s Office and four did not say they were in favor of getting rid of the preference primaries.

Johnson County Clerk Diane Thompson stated she supports getting rid of the preference primary.

“It is a beauty contest,” Ashcroft said of the preference primary.

He said the caucus system elects who the presidential candidates will be.

He said the preference primary will cost between $7,000,000 and $10,000,000 in the March of 2020.

Ashcroft guessed it would be about $9,000,000 in 2020.

Ashcroft said he wants to get rid of it.

“I think it is disingenuous that we have a presidential preference primary when it actually doesn’t matter,” he said. “I don’t think we should have an election in Missouri when the people’s votes do not matter.”

He said he believes it is a misleading election.

“We ought to put people in the position where their voice is heard and their voice matters, and that is the caucus system” Ashcroft said.

Ashcroft said the other issue with the preference primary is that it can run too close to other scheduled elections.

“It creates unnecessary confusion in the process,” he said.

He said the decision is in the governor’s hands.

“It’s not about stopping you from voting, hopefully it will push people to get more involved in the caucus where the vote actually matters,” Ashcroft said.

Managing Editor of Digital Publishing Derek Brizendine can be reached by emailing derek.brizendine@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @DerekBrizendine.

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