State senators want Pennsylvania to become more of a player in the nomination of candidates for president of the United States beginning in 2024.
The state Senate voted unanimously last week (48-0 with two senators not voting) to move Pennsylvania’s primary election date in presidential election years from the fourth Tuesday in April to the third Tuesday in March — just two weeks after Super Tuesday.
The legislation has yet been acted upon in the House, where there appears to be some opposition.
The bill adopted by the state Senate was proposed by State Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia County, whose 27th district includes a large portion of the Central Susquehanna Valley. The measure now moves on to the state House of Representatives.
“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,” Gordner wrote in a memo to his fellow lawmakers.
If the change were in effect this year, Pennsylvania would have joined Florida, Illinois, Ohio and Arizona in staging the primary election on March 17, two weeks after Super Tuesday — when 14 states and American Samoa hold their primary elections — and one week after voters in six other states cast their ballots on March 10.
This year, six states — Georgia, Hawaii, Alaska, Louisiana, Wyoming and Wisconsin will weigh in with their primary choices in the weeks between March 17 and April 28, when voters in Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware go to the polls.
The primary election votes determine the number of voting delegates candidates take with them to each party’s national convention, where the presidential nominee is named.
This year, The Democratic National Convention will be held from July 13 to 16 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Republicans are set to convene from Aug. 24 to 27 in Charlotte, N.C. The presidential election is always held on the first Tuesday in November.
Moving Pennsylvania’s primary election to an earlier date in 2024 will add to election excitement because outcomes will not have been determined. If more citizens go to the polls the third Tuesday in March rather than the fourth Tuesday in April because they don’t yet know how the race will end, that’s a good thing.
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NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.