Thursday, February 26, 2015

Maryland Senate Committee Green Lights Minor Presidential Primary Move

The Maryland state Senate Committee on Education, Health and Environmental Affairs on Tuesday, February 24 passed the bill to shift the presidential primary in the Old Line state back a week on the 2016 presidential primary calendar.

SB 204 would move the Maryland primary from the first Tuesday in April to the second Tuesday in April. The bill was unanimously and favorably passed by the committee. The rationale behind the move, as confirmed in the committee hearing on the bill, was to prevent conflicts between early voting in the presidential primary and the Easter holiday in 2016.

One week moves of this sort are fairly rare. Idaho moved its primary up a week for 2012 before it eliminated the contest. A couple of states, Maryland and Georgia, took advantage of a change in Democratic National Committee rules during the 1992 cycle. The DNC moved the earliest date states were allowed to hold primaries and caucuses up a week from the second Tuesday in March in 1988 to the first Tuesday in March in 1992.

But again, this tends to be the exception rather than the rule to primary movement.

UPDATE (3/3/15): Senate bill amended on floor
UPDATE (3/5/15): Bill passes state Senate
UPDATE (3/15/15): House bill clears committee

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