Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Amended Senate Bill Would Push Maryland Presidential Primary Back Further into April

SB 204 passed a procedural hurdle on Tuesday, March 3 in the Maryland state Senate, but not before the bill an amendment was offered and agreed to on the floor by its author and sponsor, Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-43rd, Baltimore City).

In its amended form, SB 204 would shift the presidential primary in Maryland from the first Tuesday in April to the fourth Tuesday in April. Previous versions pushed the election back just one week to the second Tuesday in April.

The reason for the initial change was to prevent an overlap between weekend early voting and the Easter holiday. Furthermore, the final canvass and certification of the results after the election would avoid a conflict with the Passover holiday. However, the new fourth Tuesday in April date called for in the amended bill falls right in the middle of the Passover week in 2016; on April 26.

The one benefit of the fourth Tuesday in April date is that it coincides with a number of other primaries in nearby states; notably Pennsylvania and Delaware, but Connecticut and Rhode Island as well. Maryland has been a part of subregional primaries during the last two cycles. It was paired with the primary in Washington, DC in 2012 and combined with both DC and Virginia for the Potomac Primary in 2008.

UPDATE (3/5/15): Bill passes state Senate
UPDATE (3/15/15): House bill clears committee

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