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The case for a national primary

Every vote really should count, not just the early ones.

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I didn't expect to feel sad the day John Edwards and Rudy Giuliani left the presidential race. Then Mitt Romney bailed, too. I probably wouldn't have voted for any of them, but now I won't have the chance.

Here in North Carolina, we aren't holding our presidential primary until May 6. Though I follow the news, I didn't bother to find out our exact primary date until recently, because I figured it didn't matter. By the time I'm allowed to vote, other states will probably have already chosen the winners.

Sure, it's possible come May that Mike Huckabee will still be a candidate. It's possible the race between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama will stay close.

But why am I forced to pick among a handful of candidates, when citizens in New Hampshire choose among many? Early primary and Super Tuesday voters determine the selections for the rest of us. In my view, that makes some votes more important than others – not exactly a concept we associate with the United States.

That's why I propose a national primary. Everyone would vote on the same day. Picture it: States couldn't elbow one another to be first anymore. National conventions couldn't banish some states' delegates for shirking tradition and jumping ahead in line as happened with Florida and Michigan. Democratic voters there have been effectively told their votes won't be tallied. This is fair?

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