Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Connecticut Parties Behind Effort to Move Presidential Primary

The Connecticut Joint Committee on Governmental Administration and Elections convened on Monday, March 20 to conduct initial public hearings for a number of bills, SB 6908 among them. That legislation would shift up the date of the presidential primary in the Nutmeg state to the first Tuesday in April starting in the 2024. 

No votes were taken on the measure, but the testimony given offered insight into the motivation behind the bill. Testifying together, the chairs of the two major state parties supported the move and indicated that it was the potential for greater influence in the presidential nomination process that prompted them to cooperatively help craft the legislation. Nancy DiNardo, the Connecticut Democratic Party chair noted that the change would give the state a "stronger voice in choosing a presidential candidate" and was furthermore "proud to say this legislation is bipartisan."

Connecticut Republican Party Chair Benjamin Proto said that an earlier primary would give Connecticut "more influence within the presidential nominating system as well as to provide voters more engagement within their party and with candidates."

Nowhere in either the oral or written testimony did either mention the current primary date's conflict with Passover in 2024. Instead, the parties were motivated by potential influence rather than that conflict in moving the primary. However, the move would shift the Connecticut presidential primary out of a conflict with the tail end of Passover.

None of this is groundbreaking news. State legislators consider presidential primary bills every year (but particularly in the year before a presidential election) to move contests around. And frequently among the top stated reasons for the legislation being introduced is the quest for more influence in and resources from the presidential nomination process. Often it is a fool's errand because the states that draw that kind of influence are the (protected) earliest states and the next wave is a cluster of contests within which states -- especially smaller ones like Connecticut -- often get lost. 

However, what was noteworthy about the testimony of DiNardo specifically was that she noted that shifting the Connecticut presidential primary to early April would align the election with the primary in New York. Now, either that was a mistake or there have been conversations among Democratic state parties about coordinating a landing spot for the two neighboring states' primaries. There are efforts to move the New York primary. However, none of them target an early April date. Plus, the standard operating procedure in New York for setting the primary date is for that work to be done in the late spring (in the year before a presidential election) in consultation with the state parties in the Empire state. 

Nonetheless, this potential cooperation makes sense. But for Covid, the Connecticut and New York primaries would have coincided in two of the last three cycles. And that sort of subregional cluster of contests would potentially be a bigger draw to candidates than if either state were to go it alone. On the Republican side, an early April position would also allow both Connecticut and New York Republicans to retain their current variations of the winner-take-most rules

Of course, both efforts have to make it through the legislative process first. And the Connecticut push has only just begun. In New York, they are not even that far along. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Connecticut Bill Introduced to Move Presidential Primary

A committee bill would move the Connecticut presidential primary up a few weeks on the 2024 calendar. 

The Connecticut Joint Committee on Government Administration and Elections introduced SB 6908 on Wednesday, March 15. The measure would shift the presidential primary in the Nutmeg state from the last Tuesday in April to the first Tuesday in April.

Like a number of other states with presidential primaries scheduled for late April 2024, many of which have shared a primary date in recent cycles, the Connecticut primary falls during the observance of Passover. Unlike many of those other states, however, the Connecticut primary falls at the tail end of Passover week rather than at the beginning of it as is the case with elections in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. But the conflict presented is just the same. 

The Maryland primary appears to be headed to a point later on the calendar, whereas Connecticut legislators are eyeing an earlier date that would avoid Passover and fall just after Easter in 2024. And there is no early voting conflict with Easter that would arise out of that because Connecticut does not have early, in-person voting. The move would align the Connecticut presidential primary with the primary in Wisconsin at the beginning of April.

All of the states but Delaware with late April primary dates scheduled for 2024 at this time either have active legislation or have signaled that legislation is forthcoming to resolve the Passover conflict. But vacating those slots at the end of April will lengthen an already three week long gap between Wisconsin and the April 23 primaries. That gap would stretch beyond a month if all of those states move, and create a second lengthy break in the steady stream of electoral results in at least the Republican nomination race. There will also likely be another break in the action earlier on the calendar between the Nevada primary on February 6 and the Michigan primary on February 27. If there are no electoral results during those periods, then something else will fill the void.

This legislation has been added to FHQ's updated 2024 presidential primary calendar


Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Maryland Presidential Primary Move Passes State Senate

During what Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-46th, Baltimore City) deemed on Tuesday, March 14 to be a "busy, busy work week" for the Maryland state Senate, the body took up SB 379 for final passage. 

The measure would not only make a number of changes to election administration, but it would also push back the date of the consolidated primary, including the presidential primary, in the Old Line state to the second Tuesday in May. The three week delay in conducting the election next year has been necessitated by the the conflict the contest would have with the Passover holiday on the fourth Tuesday in April in 2024. That would schedule the Maryland presidential primary on May 14, a date on which the Nebraska and West Virginia primaries already fall. 

In the midst of Tuesday's session, the state Senate took up SB 379 as part of a calendar of bills on their third and final reading before passage. And the body wasted little time in dispensing with the legislation. The clerk read the title, followed by no discussion on the measure and a final vote that passed 33-11 along party lines (with majority Democrats in favor). 

The bill now heads to the state House for its consideration. 

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Indications Rhode Island Will Re-explore Presidential Primary Date

The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island, too, may shift the date on which the Ocean state's presidential primary falls in 2024 because of a conflict with the Passover holiday.
Rep. Rebecca Kislak, D-Providence, has quietly raised the issue behind the scenes with the secretary of state's office and Democratic Party Leadership. She said Thursday she is "confident that over the next days or weeks" she will be able to introduce legislation to move the date.  
"We are exploring the possibility of moving the primary," echoed state Rep. Joseph McNamara, the state Democratic chairman. House Speaker K. Joseph Shekarchi said Kislak had briefed him on the problem, and he was open to a legislative fix. 

Secretary of State Gregg Amore also told The Journal: "Yes. It needs legislative action."
Legislators in Maryland are already moving legislation to push the primary in the Old Line state back into May, and in a change prompted not by the Passover conflict, two bills in Pennsylvania (also in conflict with Passover) would shift the primary in the Keystone state up to mid-March. If all of those changes occur, that would leave Delaware alone on the fourth Tuesday in April in 2024, the lone remnant of a subregional mid-Atlantic/northeastern primary that has existed in one form or another since the 2012 cycle

Connecticut has also been a part of that group but because there are five Tuesdays in April in 2024, the differing language of the laws in these states matters. The states with primaries conflicting with Passover specify the fourth Tuesday in April whereas the Connecticut law sets the date of the presidential primary in the Nutmeg state for the last Tuesday of April, the 30th in 2024. That difference has not mattered until now.

In a mark of just how quiet things have been on the calendar front in 2023 (relative to previous cycles), it may be that the Passover conflict could be the impetus for most of the calendar changes in the 2024 cycle. 

Friday, March 10, 2023

UPDATED: Maryland Bills Would Resolve Presidential Primary Conflict with Passover...

...but the possible resolutions take different routes. 

The Maryland primary along with contests in three other states will conflict with the observance of the Passover holiday in 2024. Over the years, the Old Line state has been no stranger to these sorts of electoral/holiday overlaps. Spring holidays have proven to be a bit of a thicket in recent cycles in terms of election scheduling there. 

Eight years ago, in fact, it was the Easter holiday that was problematic, forcing a change to a presidential primary initially scheduled for the first Tuesday in April. However, efforts to push the election back by just a week to the second Tuesday in April raised another conflict: that the canvass of the presidential primary would have elections administrators working during Passover week at the end of April. The solution was to push the Maryland primary even further into April so that the the voting did not conflict with Easter and the canvass did not overlap with Passover. Of course, that solution -- scheduling the election for the fourth Tuesday in April -- meant that voting took place during Passover in 2016. 

That 2015 experience is important context for the current dilemma in Maryland. And history has repeated itself to some degree early in the efforts to correct the conflict. Over the last two weeks, two bills -- one in the House (HB 1279) and one in the Senate (SB 955) -- have been introduced to shift the Maryland presidential primary up a week from the fourth Tuesday in April to the third Tuesday in April. But while that moves voting in the primary out of the Passover window, it would have election administrators working on the canvass during the holiday. That is, it would create the very same conflict that initial bills in 2015 proposed before being amended later on in the legislative process. 

However, the sponsor of the Senate version, Senator Shelly Hettleman (D-11, Baltimore), has devised a different path that avoids all of the April holiday snags. In an amendment that Hettleman has offered to a broader elections omnibus, the presidential primary would be pushed out of April altogether. That floor amendment to SB 379 would move the Maryland presidential primary back three weeks to the second Tuesday in May, aligned with the Nebraska and West Virginia primaries. 

Senator Hettleman explained the rationale for the later date to WMAR in Baltimore:
Originally, we looked at going a week earlier but there were concerns that Early Voting would conflict with the legislative session, so the idea was to go later so as not to conflict with any holidays. Procedurally, I understand it looks different, but there is no difference between amending the change onto another bill and having a bill on its own -- as long as it's making the change. We thought that this was the most efficient way of getting this done at this point in the session.
The move would push the primary later in the calendar during a cycle in which Republicans look to have the only competitive nomination race. And while it would place the Maryland contest during the home stretch of the 2024 process, it would allow the Republican Party in the Old Line state to continue using the truly winner-take-all plan it adopted in 2019 for use in 2020. 

The amendment will be considered on the floor of the Maryland state Senate on Friday, March 10.

UPDATE (3/10/23, 2:15pm): Senator Hettleman's amendment to move the Maryland primary to the second Tuesday in May was adopted on a voice vote and the enter bill later passed its second reading in the chamber. That clears the elections omnibus bill, including the presidential primary move for 2024, for final passage. A cross-filed companion bill has already passed the state House, but without the presidential primary provision. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Maryland Legislative Leaders Signal Presidential Primary Change is Forthcoming

Last week, Baltimore leaders called for legislative action to resolve a conflict between the 2024 presidential primary in Maryland and the observance of Passover. This week, the leaders of the General Assembly in the Old Line state responded. 

In a joint statement House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-10th, Baltimore) and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-46th, Baltimore City) said:
"As State leaders and as legislators, we have been intentional in our effort to pass election laws and create policies that remove barriers to voting. A primary election date that unintentionally coincides with the Passover holiday would prevent thousands of Marylanders from engaging in their fundamental right to vote. We will work with the State Board of Elections and local election officials to find a more appropriate date."
Maryland danced around spring holidays in 2016 as well, and may not be the only state with a primary at the end of April that explores a change for 2024.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Passover Will Conflict with Late April Primaries 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.