Lawmakers Eye Making Big Changes For 2016 Primary

Sep 2, 2015

The House voted down a bill with widespread, bi-partisan support
Credit Public Domain

There was a bit of a surprise Wednesday on the floor of the North Carolina House. The chamber unanimously voted down a bill that has broad, bi-partisan support.

Effectively House bill 373 does just one thing, change the date of the state’s presidential primary from February 23 to March 15. It’s something lawmakers from both parties want.

Right now only four states are cleared to have their primaries or caucuses in February. If non-approved states hold their contest in February both the Democrat and Republican national parties say they will cut the number of state delegates that can go to the national convention. Thus weakening a state’s clout and creating bipartisan support for the bill.

So why was the bill unanimously voted down? Because it does just one thing. Right now the state is scheduled to hold a second primary in 2016, in May. That’s where votes for everything but the president will be cast.

Lawmakers say they’re now looking at holding every primary on March 15. And they say they could make those changes more quickly in a conference committee. The State Board of Elections says holding just one primary would save North Carolina $9.5 million.