AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate has voted to put off a decision on whether to put Maine among the states that hold presidential primaries instead of caucuses.

After a debate Wednesday, senators gave initial approval to a committee-approved change that calls for a presidential primary bill to be submitted to the next Legislature in 2013.

Senate President Kevin Raye’s original bill, LD 1882, would not have had any effect in this presidential-election year anyway because it was submitted too late. The bill surfaced following widespread criticism among Republicans about how their party’s caucuses were handled in February.

Raye, a Perry Republican, says his proposal would encourage voter participation. His bill faces additional House and Senate votes.

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