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House greenlights primary election consolidation

Delaware Public Media

The state house signed off on a bill Thursday to move Delaware’s state primary from September to April.

It would then coincide with the First State’s presidential primary, beginning in 2020.

“The bill aims to increase voter participation, reduce confusion and save taxpayers money," said Rep. Stephanie Bolden (D-Wilmington East), the lead sponsor of the bill.

Running both primaries on the same day would save about $1 million according to state election officials.

States that have implemented similar changes have also seen stronger voter turnout. 17 in total have consolidated their presidential and statewide primaries.

Rep. Rich Collins (R-Millsboro) was one of the two “no” votes. He says shifting the primary to coincide with the presidential primary in April could dissuade potential candidates from running at all.

“It just seems to me we might have an awful lot of incumbents who run with no challengers at all, which I don’t think is what we’re trying to achieve here,” Collins said.

Others say the change would reduce face time with voters, as evening door knocking loses out to earlier sunsets.

It still needs Senate approval and the governor’s signature before becoming law.

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