Thursday, January 5, 2017

CA Bill to Move Presidential Primary to March

Thanks to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News for this post.

California's Presidential Primary could find itself squarely in the middle of the Super Tuesday political sweepstakes in 2020 under a proposal being introduced this week at the State Capitol. And while earlier efforts have failed to either influence the outcome of the Democratic or Republican contests or draw high voter turnout, the plan's author thinks times have changed.

"I think there's a yearning and a hunger for actual engagement," said Assemblyman Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), the Bill's author. "There's not enough discussion of substantive issues that are crucial to Californians."

If ultimately signed into Law, the Bill would be the sixth time in two decades that California's Presidential Primary was revamped in order to inject the State's voters into the bloodstream of Presidential politics.

Lawmakers first moved the Presidential Primary from June to March in 1996. Frustrated when additional States then pushed their contests even earlier, California held a Presidential-only Election on Feb. 5th, 2008. Turnout in that Election, won by Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain, was higher than it had been in almost three decades. But Elections officials, then tasked with Congressional and Legislative Primaries in June, complained about the cost of holding three Statewide Elections in a single year.

Mullin's plan, which will be formally introduced on today, would return California to a consolidated State and Federal Primary in early March of each Presidential year. In Non-Presidential years such as 2018, the State would continue to hold its Primary in June.

A dozen States participated in the Super Tuesday Presidential Primary in 2016, collectively awarding enough Party Delegates to surpass California, though not by much. In an interview, the lawmaker said he disagrees with critics who said the Early Primary for State races simply meant more campaign fundraising. "The fundraising is already a year-round obligation," Mullin said.

Mullin also suggested that a factor working in California's favor for political relevance would be Voting by Mail. More than half of all voters are now permanently receiving Absentee ballots, and more are expected to vote early under a law signed last fall by Gov. Jerry Brown. That shift in the State's electorate could entice Presidential candidates to travel to California in hopes of attracting early support soon after the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

"Lots of votes in California would be cast in February," Mullin said.

Mullin is Speaker Pro Tempore, which is the second-highest position in the California Assembly, after the Speaker.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: