Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Housekeeping: North Carolina Legislation to Move Presidential Primary to March No Longer Active

With the North Carolina General Assembly convening only periodically to clean up redistricting legislation among other things, the bill (S 440) to shift the presidential primary in the Tarheel state from the first Tuesday after the first Monday in May to the first Tuesday in March appears to be dead. This is particularly so given the fact that the crossover deadline -- to point at which legislation must have passed the originating chamber -- was June 9. That means a couple of things:

  1. North Carolina no longer has active legislation to move the date on which the presidential primary is to occur. As such, it has been reshaded on the 2012 presidential primary calendar map.
  2. However, just because that legislation seemingly died in committee, it does not mean that the effort to move the primary is dead. It is only mostly dead

To this second point, FHQ would add that time is running out and the willingness to actually shift the date of the presidential primary is lacking. The deadline for the state parties to submit candidate lists to the State Board of Elections is the first Tuesday in February. To maintain a similar three month cushion between that point and when the primary is conducted would mean that deadline would be pushed to -- as it was in the proposed legislation -- December. That point is quickly approaching and after the General Assembly session yesterday to deal with some technical issues in the recently passed redistricting legislation, there is only a full session date for both chambers listed -- on November 27 -- between now and December.

Additionally, if such a move was to happen, it would have to be pursued through an amendment to a current piece of legislation. There is a path, then, for the North Carolina presidential primary to be moved, but the willingness to do so is almost completely lacking within the legislature. And that does not even raise the issues associated with either creating a separate presidential primary election or moving up all of the primaries; something that would further decrease the likelihood of a move.

Massachusetts is the only remaining state where legislation to shift the date on which the presidential primary is scheduled is active.

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