April 14, 2015 •
States Look to Move Presidential Primaries
Several states have introduced legislation changing their primary election dates to early March in preparation for the 2016 presidential election. Michigan has already enacted such legislation with the passage of Senate Bill 44 and Senate Bill 45. Both senate bills change the presidential primary election to the second Tuesday in March. The bills take effect in time for the 2016 presidential primary election. In Minnesota, Senate File 1205, currently in committee, proposes to change the presidential primary election to the last Tuesday in March. If passed, this bill will also take effect in time for the 2016 election. A pair of companion bills have been introduced in the Washington State Legislature. House Bill 2139 and Senate Bill 5978 each propose to change the date of the presidential primary election to the second Tuesday in March. Senate Bill 5978, introduced at the request of Secretary of State Kim Wyman, passed the Senate on March 3, 2015, and was referred to the House Committee on State Government where a hearing on the bill was held on March 12. In New Mexico, House Bill 346 proposes to change the state’s primary date to the third Tuesday in March. If passed, this bill will take effect July 1, 2015, again in time for the 2016 presidential election.
In what is being dubbed the “SEC” presidential primary, many Southern states are also considering legislation to change their primary election dates. Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is leading an effort to do so, and urging his counterparts in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Alabama to adopt similar measures. Kemp’s proposal is a regional primary election scheduled for the first Tuesday in March. In Mississippi, companion bills adopt Kemp’s proposal, amending the state’s primary election date to the first Tuesday in March. Senate Bill 2531 passed the Senate and reported favorably from the House Apportionment and Elections Committee; House Bill 933 passed the House and eventually died in the Senate.
Other states considering similar legislation include Oklahoma (Senate Bill 233), Idaho (Senate Bill 1066), Florida (House Bill 7035), and Vermont (Senate Bill 76).
State and Federal Communications, Inc. provides research and consulting services for government relations professionals on lobbying laws, procurement lobbying laws, political contribution laws in the United States and Canada. Learn more by visiting stateandfed.com.