Should Pennsylvania voters have a larger say in who gets the next Democratic or Republican nomination for President in 2024?
State senator John Gordner (R-Columbia) says yes.
And the PA House of Representatives may help him get his wish.
The House State Government Committee voted 16-8-1 to move Senate Bill 428 to the House floor for consideration. Democrats Kristine Howard (D-Chester/Montgomery) and Benjamin Sanchez (D-Montgomery) joined 14 GOP committee members in the affirmative. The committee also moved another bill aimed at expanding the rights of poll watchers.
Gordner’s bill – passed 49-0 by the Senate in December – would move up the Commonwealth’s presidential primary from the fourth Tuesday in April to the third Tuesday in March – a difference of 35 days.
In 2020, the Keystone State sat 32nd in the presidential primary process. Pennsylvania held its primary on the same date as New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware.
“In most Presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before our voters have a chance to cast their vote,” said Gordner in a statement. “This will allow our voters to have a significant say in the outcome of these essential elections, while not running afoul of any rules set forth by the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.”
If adopted, the 2024 presidential primary would move from April 23, 2024 to March 19, 2024, and be conducted on the same day as Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
Gordner also stated that the bill would not change the date of primary elections in non-Presidential years.
The biggest change would come in the gathering of signatures by candidates to appear on the ballot during presidential years. Pennsylvania law dictates that nomination petitions are to be circulated between the 13th and 10th Tuesdays prior to the primary. In 2024, that would fall from December 19 – January 9 during the holidays.