Legg says she wouldn't want to increase campaign donation limits, favors paper ballots

04/20/2011 07:35 AM

While Republican Secretary of State candidate Hilda Legg is pushing for some changes to the election process, like showing proof of citizenship to register to vote, she’s not as eager to change campaign finance laws.

“Campaigns cost way too much money,” she said.

As someone who worked in political campaigns dating back to Ronald Reagan’s presidential re-election in 1984, Legg is familiar with campaigning. But this is her first time as a candidate.

But Legg said she isn’t sure if the campaign contribution limits of $1,000 for candidates running for state offices should be raised. The contribution limits for candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, for instance, is $2,500.

“When in this country a common and ordinary person like me… when we can’t run for public office because it costs so much money, our country suffers.”
When pressed, she said, “I’m not going to take an absolute on that. I’m open to that.”

Legg was a little coy about how much she planned to raise for her primary race, just a little more than three weeks out now. “I’m pleased. I’m very pleased with my effort.”

Legg faces Bill Johnson, a Todd County businessman and former GOP U.S. Senate candidate, in the May 17 Republican primary for Secretary of State.

If Legg should win the primary, she and other candidates in this fall’s general election won’t have to show how much they’ve raised for the general election until early October — just weeks before the election.

Critics say that’s too long a time to go between reporting periods.

Legg said she wouldn’t oppose a proposal that has been floated in the General Assembly the last several years to require candidates to report their finances about 60 days before the general election.

“I think the public needs to know. They need to have a good understanding of who’s contributing to your campaign,” Legg said. “If the public wants to know, then I’m very comfortable with setting a reasonable (date).”

When the public goes to cast their ballots, the question is paper or plastic. As in filling out a paper ballot, or voting on an electronic machine. Legg seems to favor the paper ballots, although she wouldn’t say for sure. She said the county clerks are somewhat split over what voting method they prefer.

“People who do the paper ballots, love the paper ballots,” Legg said. “I hear really good things about the paper ballots.”

But it’s not machines that make mistakes, Legg added. It’s normally the people who run the machines, and that’s where Legg says her focus should be.

“That’s what we’ll be focused on is helping our people conduct fair elections in the Commonwealth,” she said.

- Summarized by Lanny Brannock

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