What the bill would do
This one is all about California’s role in presidential elections. SB 568 by Democratic Sen. Ricardo Lara of Bell Gardens, would move up the presidential primary by three months. Instead of holding one of the nation’s latest primaries, in June, California would hold one of the first, in March.
Who supports it
The bill was sponsored by Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who has not declared that he’s running for higher office but is known in political circles to be eyeing a run for U.S. Senate. Padilla argues that as the nation’s largest state, California should have a greater role in determining presidential nominees. Under the current timeline, presidential nominees are usually determined before Californians vote in June. Advancing the primary to March, Padilla and other supporters say, would increase California’s influence in the race for the nation’s highest office.
No formal opponents have emerged, though some people have questioned whether moving the date will have the impact supporters hope. California has moved its primary election to March three times in the last two decades. In the most recent instance, when the state held a March primary in 2008, more than two dozen states also moved up their dates, leaving California without the clout it sought. Changing the date also comes with what many Californians may see as a downside: an even longer campaign season.
Why it matters
California’s large and diverse population gets statistically sidelined in presidential campaigns. Candidates spend time in tiny but influential states like Iowa and New Hampshire but largely ignore the Golden State—except when they fly in to raise money from wealthy donors. This bill could force candidates to get familiar with ordinary California voters as well.
Signed on Sept. 27