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Democracy in motion

January 27, 2007

Re "State aims for Feb. 5 primary to boost clout," Jan. 20

All states should move their primaries to the same date. It is deeply undemocratic that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have more of a say in who our presidential candidates are than voters in other states. Next to the Electoral College, which gives more weight to votes in certain states, and the two-party system, which leaves the will of millions of voters unaccounted for, this is a major blemish on the oldest modern democracy.

CHRISTOPH BULL

Los Angeles

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I would like to see California have more say in the presidential race. Certainly our state is more important than New Hampshire or Iowa or even our neighbor Nevada, for a variety of reasons. By having our primary in February, the election campaigning will start in September or October, more than a year ahead of the general election. Rather than this, I would like to see the first primary of the presidential campaign be in September, two months before the general election. I would also like to see no campaigning until the Fourth of July before the primary election. That would be a nationwide mandate.

Concentrating the election cycle would result in less-expensive and lengthy campaigns and less political burnout for voters. With television, candidates can get their point across in a few months.

If the campaigns are shorter and less expensive, the influence of money would have less effect on the entire process. That would be a welcome change.

MIKE REARDON

Fallbrook

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Moving up the California primary would short-circuit the primary process. Only candidates very well funded before the primary process even begins would have a chance in an early February 2008 California primary. This is because of the huge cost of TV commercials necessary to compete here.

It is preferable that the candidates fight it out first in the smaller states, where an underfunded yet attractive candidate can compete successfully through town meetings, local debates and coffee parties in homes.

The idea that an early primary is necessary for California to affect the election process is overrated. For one thing, all candidates come to California for funding. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and former Sen. John Edwards look good now, but we may find that we like former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson or Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) even better. But only if we give them a chance on the more level playing fields of the smaller states.

RALPH KOTTKE

North Hollywood

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