Monday, March 30, 2015

Vermont Tries a Different Tack in Challenging New Hampshire's First in the Nation Status

With legislation to move the Vermont presidential primary up to coincide with the New Hampshire primary stuck in neutral, a couple of Democratic legislators in the Green Mountain state are taking an alternate approach. Last week, Rep. David Deen (D-136th, Putney) and Rep. Michael Mrowicki (D-138th, Putney) introduced Joint (House) Resolution 11. The measure is a scaled back version of the previously filed bills in the state House and Senate. Instead of giving the power to set the date of the primary to the Vermont secretary of state, the proposed resolution would request that the office of the secretary of state study the feasibility of shifting into an earlier New Hampshire-aligned presidential primary election.

If the resolution is passed, the secretary of state's office would, again, be requested to complete the study before December 15, 2015. If the study takes that long -- completion in mid-December -- that would give the state a very small window in which to prepare for an earlier than usual primary for the 2016 cycle. And that depends on the Secretary of State Jim Condos actually going along with the plan. He was skeptical of the move to encroach on New Hampshire's first in the nation turf after the state Senate bill became public and said as much in the original committee hearing for the bill back in February.

The resolution/study route is not a unique one when it comes to presidential primary positioning. Indiana attempted to do something similar with its later (May) primary during its 2009 legislative session.

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