1. The Obama administration -- or at least the president's reelection campaign -- is concerned that the new restrictions on early and absentee voting will disproportionately impact Obama voters in the general election. And in a swing state like Ohio in an election that looks to be -- from our view of things at the end of August 2011 -- close, every vote counts.2. However, the Obama folks are playing with fire here to some extent as well. Many are talking about how the Republican nomination race could stretch into May or June (or to a brokered convention), but that is not a certainty at this point in time. If Romney or Perry can wrap up the nomination earlier than that May to June window -- say toward the end of April when a host of northeastern states will hold a regional primary -- an Ohio primary back in March puts the state into the window of decisiveness. That also potentially puts Ohio into a competitive campaign environment in which Perry and Romney energize and mobilize a great many Republican voters who are apt to stick with the party in the general election.The Democratic nomination race from 2008 is a perfect example of this. The battle for the right to be the Democratic nominee impacted registration efforts in suddenly relevant states like North Carolina and Indiana -- two typically red states that Obama later carried in the general election by narrow margins. Now this could happen to Ohio in 2012 whether the primary is in March or May, but it is more likely within the window of decisiveness in March as opposed to May.Now, the flip side of this is that a protracted or semi-protracted Republican nomination race will veer off into Carter-Kennedy territory as opposed to a repeat of the Obama-Clinton race. If Perry vs. Romney turns, to borrow a word from the Texas governor, ugly, that divisiveness could impact the party's chances in the general election. That angle is not getting much play in the political press at the moment, but it represents a very fine line in any evenly-matched or competitive nomination race: When does the balance tip from positive energy within the Republican electorate to discontent among two Republican camps? We are an eternity away from gathering an answer to that question, but it is worth throwing out there as this nomination race continues to develop.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
- It could be the rules, though time and again, Brewer and her spokesperson have repeated the "we don't care about the delegate penalties" refrain.
- It could be negotiations with the RNC over how to resolve the issue have brought the governor to the conclusion that there is a compromise position. Again, FHQ doubts this based on the fact that Arizona loses leverage with the party -- in terms of potentially reducing the delegate penalty -- the more she keeps the RNC and everyone else in the dark on the decision-making process.
- It could also be that the governor, independent of pressure from anyone outside of Arizona, has come to the conclusion that she can maximize the attention -- from the candidates and the media -- to the Arizona primary just as well on, say, February 14, as she can on January 31. Again, consistent with the negotiations language, one leads with an outlandish offer only to "bargain" one's way to a perceived less threatening, yet ideal position.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
"The governor has indicated her priority here is to give the biggest platform to Arizona voters and Southwestern issues," he said. "You could potentially see a potential presidential preference election date other than Jan. 31 and accomplish the same thing."As FHQ mentioned back in late July, Arizona was/is forcing the RNC to the negotiating table. The January 31 move was an opening offer. And we're beginning to see evidence of that in Benson's admission that the state can likely carve out an attention-maximizing position on the calendar on a date other than (read: later than) January 31. Now, that isn't to suggest that Brewer will not ultimately decide to move the Arizona presidential primary to January 31 on or before this coming Friday or Saturday. However, FHQ will go to great lengths to urge folks to consider that there are other options on the table.
- Brewer moves the Arizona presidential primary to January 31. That forces a reaction from Florida. And that triggers a response from Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina. The outcome is that the process gets pushed up into the front half of January (or earlier depending on how particular other states are about the space between contests).
- Brewer moves the primary to a date other than January 31 some time this week. Again, Arizona will likely have much of February to itself. Missouri and New Jersey are going to move from February 7 barring something unforeseen and Wisconsin has active, Republican-sponsored legislation to move its primary to April 3. That leaves February 7, February 14 and February 21 as possible dates that are earlier than the February 28 position Arizona now currently occupies. Much of this calculus on Arizona's (and other states') parts is going to depend on how much space they desire between their primaries and others. Finding a week to itself would prove more difficult and force Arizona to January 31. But if the goal to to get Arizona a stand-alone date with a half of a week buffer between it and other contests, then one of the February dates is likely workable.
- Brewer lets Friday/Saturday come and go without an announcement. That signals that she has set her sights on a later date. FHQ isn't particularly high on this option simply because Brewer loses some potential leverage in the process. The threat becomes less severe if the governor lets the decision stretch beyond this week. By the same token, that could also win her some points with the RNC; by reducing the threat. That keeps things within the negotiations narrative.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Secretary of State Kemp Announces Receipt of Election Legislation Preclearance from U.S. Department of Justice
Atlanta – Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced today that his agency’s 2011 legislation affecting election processes have received approval or “preclearance” from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). Each bill was passed during the 2011 session of the Georgia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal. Under federal law, Georgia must obtain federal preclearance of any change affecting voting by filing suit in federal court or by obtaining administrative preclearance through the DOJ.
Secretary Kemp said, “These bills reflect our commitment to improving Georgia’s election code and strengthening our election laws and procedures, particularly by creating cost savings and increasing efficiencies at the state, county and local government levels.”
The following election bills received DOJ preclearance:
HB 92 (Sponsored by Rep. Mark Hamilton): Changes the time period for in-person early voting
HB 92 provides a uniform starting date for Georgia elections by reducing the in-person early voting period to the three weeks prior to Election Day. Reducing the in-person early voting period will free up critically needed resources in Georgia counties, and does not affect a voter’s option or ability to cast a mail-in absentee ballot 45 days prior to Election Day. Historically, approximately eighty percent of early voters cast their ballot during the three weeks prior to Election Day.
HB 158 (Sponsored by Rep. James Mills): Changes the date of judicial and other non-partisan races from November to the date of the general primary
HB 158 can prevent adding an extra election date in the event of a run-off, and the associated costs to Georgia’s counties.
HB 302 (Sponsored by Rep. Donna Sheldon): Changes the date of the general primary in even-numbered years following a census from the next-to-last last Tuesday in August to the last Tuesday in July
HB 302 allows the state to meet federal UOCAVA requirements for our military and overseas voters.
HB 454 (Sponsored by Rep. Mark Hamilton): Provides for the Secretary of State to set the date of the presidential preference primary
HB 454 gives the state more options and flexibility to determine when it will hold its presidential preference primary, and will ensure that the voices of Georgia’s voters are heard and are relevant in the presidential candidate nomination process. The Secretary of State must set the date no later than December 1 in the year prior to the primary, and the date must be no later than the second Tuesday in June of the primary year. Further, there must be a period of at least 60 days between the day when the Secretary of State sets the date and the date of the primary.
Brian Kemp has been Secretary of State since January, 2010. Among the office’s wide-ranging responsibilities, the Secretary of State is charged with conducting efficient and secure elections, the registration of corporations, and the regulation of securities and professional license holders. The office also oversees the Georgia Archives.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
[Click to Enlarge]
Reading the Map:
As was the case with the maps from past cycles, the earlier a contest is scheduled in 2012, the darker the color in which the state is shaded. Iowa, for instance, is a much deeper shade of blue in January than South Dakota is in June. There are, however, some differences between the earlier maps and the one that appears above.
- Several caucus states have yet to select a date for the first step of their delegate selection processes in 2012. Until a decision is made by state parties in those states, they will appear in gray on the map.
- The states where legislation to move the presidential primary is active are two-toned. One color indicates the timing of the primary according to the current law whereas the second color is meant to highlight the most likely month to which the primary could be moved. [With the exception of North Carolina, the proposed movement is backward.]
- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina are shaded on the map according to the latest possible date these states would have if Florida opts not to move their primary into compliance with the national party rules. Iowa Republicans and Nevada Republicans and Democrats have decided to accept the party-designated dates, but FHQ operates under the assumption that both will move to a point ahead of the earliest exempt state should one or more move or maintain a February or earlier date.
- States that are bisected vertically are states where the state parties have different dates for their caucuses and/or primaries. The left hand section is shaded to reflect the state Democratic Party's scheduling while the right is for the state Republican Party's decision on the timing of its delegate selection event.
Reading the Calendar:
- Caucus states are italicized while primary states are not. Several caucus states are missing from the list because they have not formalized the date on which their contests will be held in 2012. Colorado appears because the caucuses dates there are set by the state, whereas a state like Alaska has caucuses run by the state parties and as such do not have their dates codified in state law.
- States that have changed dates appear twice (or more) on the calendar; once by the old date and once by the new date. The old date will be struck through while the new date will be color-coded with the amount of movement (in days) in parentheses. States in green are states that have moved to earlier dates on the calendar and states in red are those that have moved to later dates. Arkansas, for example, has moved its 2012 primary and moved it back 104 days from its 2008 position.
- The date of any primary or caucus moves that have taken place -- whether through gubernatorial signature or state party move -- also appear in parentheses following the state's/party's new entry on the calendar.
- States with active legislation have links to those bills included with their entries on the calendar. If there are multiple bills they are divided by chamber and/or numbered accordingly.
- Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina appear twice. The earlier entry corresponds with the latest possible date these states would have if Florida opts not to move their primary into compliance with the national party rules. The second, later entry for each of the non-exempt states reflects the position the national parties would prefer the earliest states to hold their delegate selection events.
2012 Presidential Primary Calendar
Monday, December 5:
Tuesday, December 13:
Saturday, December 17:
Tuesday, January 31:
Monday, February 6:
Iowa caucuses (moved: 2/8/11) (based on national party rules)
Tuesday, February 7:
Alabama Arkansas California Connecticut Delaware Illinois Montana Republican caucuses New York Oklahoma Tennessee Utah
Saturday, February 11:
Tuesday, February 14:
New Hampshire (based on national party rules)
Virginia Washington, DC
Saturday, February 18:
Nevada Republican caucuses (-28) (moved: 12/16/10) (based on national party rules)
Nevada Democratic caucuses2 (-28) (moved: 2/24/11) (based on national party rules)
Tuesday, February 21:
Hawaii Republican caucuses (+88) (moved: 5/16/09)
Tuesday, March 6 (Super Tuesday):
Idaho Republican caucuses (+70) (moved: 7/16/11)
Saturday, March 10:
Kansas Republican caucuses (-28) (moved: 8/13/11)
Sunday, March 11:
Maine Democratic caucuses (-28) (moved: 3/27/11)
Tuesday, March 13:
Hawaii Republican caucuses (+67 and -21) (moved: 5/14/11)
Utah Democratic caucuses (-35) (moved: 3/25/11)
Tuesday, March 20:
Illinois (-42) (bills: Senate) (moved: 3/17/10)
Saturday, March 24:
Tuesday, April 3:
Saturday, April 7:
Hawaii Democratic caucuses (-46) (moved: 3/18/11)
Wyoming Democratic caucuses (-28) (moved: 3/16/11)
Saturday, April 14:
Idaho Democratic caucuses (-67) (moved: 5/1/11)
Kansas Democratic caucuses (-67) (moved: 5/24/11)
Nebraska Democratic caucuses (-63) (moved: 3/5/11)
Sunday, April 15:
Alaska Democratic caucuses (-68) (moved: 4/4/11)
Washington Democratic caucuses (-64) (moved: 4/30/11)
Tuesday, April 24:
Saturday, May 5:
Michigan Democratic caucuses (-67) (moved: 4/13/11)
Tuesday, May 8:
Tuesday, May 15:
Oregon (bills: House)
Tuesday, May 22:
Kentucky (bills: House) (died: legislature adjourned)
Tuesday, June 5:
New Mexico5 (bills: Senate) (died: legislature adjourned)
North Dakota Democratic caucuses (-119) (moved: 4/21/11)
Tuesday, June 26:
Utah (Republicans only) (-140) (moved: 6/5/11)
1 New Hampshire law calls for the Granite state to hold a primary on the second Tuesday of March or seven days prior to any other similar election, whichever is earlier. Florida is first now, so New Hampshire would be a week earlier at the latest. Traditionally, Iowa has gone on the Monday a week prior to New Hampshire. For the time being we'll wedge South Carolina in on the Saturday between New Hampshire and Florida, but these are just guesses at the moment. Any rogue states could cause a shift.
3 In Arizona the governor can use his or her proclamation powers to move the state's primary to a date on which the event would have an impact on the nomination. In 2004 and 2008 the primary was moved to the first Tuesday in February.
4 Massachusetts and Michigan are the only states that passed a frontloading bill prior to 2008 that was not permanent. The Bay state reverts to its first Tuesday in March date in 2012 while Michigan will fall back to the fourth Tuesday in February.
5 The law in New Mexico allows the parties to decide when to hold their nominating contests. The Democrats have gone in early February in the last two cycles, but the GOP has held steady in June. They have the option of moving however.
This will be the first year Kemp will set the presidential primary date, after the General Assembly passed the measure this spring for him to do so. Yet, with New Hampshire and Iowa attempting to remain the first primaries of the season, dates have fluctuated. Kemp said he is waiting for those dates before putting Georgia in the mix. The Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses historically have set the pulse of the presidential elections.Kemp has been mostly tight-lipped on the issue of the Peach state presidential primary since the Georgia General Assembly ceded its power to set the date to the secretary in legislation signed into law earlier this year. The point of the bill was to allow the state -- through the secretary of state -- the flexibility it did not have previously in setting the date of its nominating contest. There have been clues from Kemp in the time since, but not much in the way of firm specifics.