State lawmakers introduce legislation to make Nevada first presidential primary state

State lawmakers in Nevada introduced legislation that would move the state from a caucus to primary system for selecting presidential nominees and put it at the beginning of the primary calendar for the 2024 election.

The legislation, sponsored by Democratic lawmakers Jason Frierson, Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Brittney Miller, would shift the state’s primary to the Tuesday before the last Tuesday in January, bumping Iowa and New Hampshire from the first and second spots, respectively.

It’s unclear if the national parties, which set the primary schedule, would approve of the change.

The bill also “requires  a  period  for  early  voting  for  a  presidential preference  primary  election  that  begins  10  calendar  days  before  the  election  and extends  through  the  Friday  before  the  election.”

Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy lauded the effort as “a critical next step” in a statement Monday.

“Last year, Democrats did incredible work to make our caucuses more accessible by including early voting and introducing multilingual trainings and materials, but the only way we can bring more voices into the process is by moving to a primary,” he said. “This legislation is yet another reason the Silver State deserves to be the first presidential nominating state in 2024. We are a majority-minority state with a strong union population and the power structure of the country is moving West.”

Nevada currently uses a caucus system for its presidential nominating contests, but caucuses have become less popular.

Critics say the system leads to fewer people getting to have a say in the contests due to the caucuses not being in a person’s normal voting place and only taking place over the span of a couple of hours. 

Iowa’s and New Hampshire’s positions at the front of the nominating calendar have also come under fire from those who say putting a more diverse state first would better represent the Democratic Party.

Tags caucuses Nevada Primary voting

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