Sunday, February 26, 2023

Late April Primaries Will Conflict with Passover in 2024

Baltimore officials are calling on the Maryland General Assembly to change the date of the 2024 presidential primary in the Old Line state. The April 23 date conflicts with the Passover holiday. 

Such is the peril of scheduling spring primaries. But some states have shifted elections around in the past to avoid these sorts of conflicts while others have not. Maryland, in fact, made a double move during the 2016 cycle, originally proposing a one-week delay to avoid Easter in early April and then an even later push with Passover during the following week. However, Maryland was not the only state. Hawaii, Louisiana, New York and Wyoming have all scheduled around holidays in the last three cycles. 

Of course, Maryland is not alone in holding a presidential primary on April 23 in 2024 as of now. Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island also have contests occupying that slot on the calendar. The Connecticut primary is also scheduled in the Passover window on April 30. Similar efforts in those states may be forthcoming. Yet, all four conducted primaries in 2016 that overlapped with the observance of Passover. And Maryland did too during that cycle. The amendment was added to the one-week delay proposal because that would have put the certification process for the primary at odds with the holiday. Election officials would have had to work during the holiday.

There is already active legislation to move the Pennsylvania primary into March, but the motivation there is merely to hold an earlier contest. One of the byproducts of that change would be that the primary in the Keystone state would avoid the holiday conflict. Another bill in New York would schedule the presidential primary in the Empire state for that same fourth Tuesday in April date, in the Passover window. 

But it remains to be seen if legislation will come forward elsewhere to alter primary dates in any of the other states with conflicts.

No comments: