Friday, July 19, 2019

Earlier June Presidential Primary Move Inches Forward in DC

The District Council in Washington, DC returned to work on B23-0212 this week for the first time since a committee hearing at the end of April.

But just because the bill to shift the presidential primary in the nation's capital up a two weeks to the first Tuesday in June has lain fallow since spring does not mean that the effort to move the primary has been on the back burner. And that is more a function of the legislative process in the District than it is neglect by the council.

An emergency bill of the same intent passed earlier in the spring, was signed by Mayor Bowser, and passed congressional review to enact the move for just 90 days. A temporary measure in a similar vein was also passed the council, was signed by the mayor and is under congressional review to stretch that 90 enactment to 225 days. Neither window pushes far enough into the future to encompass the proposed date of the presidential primary, so a permanent solution is warranted.

And that is why the council has shifted its focus back to B23-0212: to make the change to the first Tuesday in June permanent in presidential election years.

But why go to the trouble of the two intermediary temporary acts? In this context, it is to signal that the primary date change is coming but has to navigate the lengthy DC legislative process first. The same basic path was followed in 2017 effort to push back the date of the primary from the second Tuesday in June to the third Tuesday in June.

In other words, the Washington, DC presidential primary will fall on June 2 in 2020, but there is a bit of a wait in getting to that point based on how a bill becomes a law under the DC charter.

5/6/19: Committee Hearing Finds Both DC Parties in Favor of a Presidential Primary Move

4/5/19: DC Council Eyes Earlier Primary with New Bill

2/7/19: DC Presidential Primary on the Move Again?

5/15/18:  Washington, DC Eases Back a Week on the Calendar

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