MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- In these tough times, even how we nominate presidents is facing the threat of the budget ax.
Lawmakers and elections officials in at least six cash-strapped states are hoping to move or replace their stand-alone 2012 presidential primaries, sacrificing some influence over who wins the nominations in favor of saving millions of dollars.
The moves to either delay primaries by several months or hand over the nominating process to party-run caucuses comes as Republican and Democratic parties implement new rules to limit the number of states voting before March 1.
States are facing billion-dollar deficits, and legislators are trying to cut budgets.
"We are in the mode now of looking after needs instead of wants," said Alabama Rep. Steve Clouse, who introduced a bill to move his state's primary from February or March to June, when it can be merged with a primary for state offices.
Missouri and California are also considering shifting to June.
The move could save nearly $4 million.