SACRAMENTO, CA May 4, 2017 – Today the California State Senate overwhelmingly approved the Prime Time Primary Act, authored by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) and sponsored by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, to shift the state’s presidential primary from near last to one of the first in the nation. The bill received bipartisan support, passing on a 32-6 vote.
Secretary Padilla and Senator Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the Prime Time Primary, Senate Bill 568, to give the nation’s largest state a louder voice in the presidential selection.
“The largest and most diverse state in the union should not be an afterthought,” said Secretary Padilla. “Moving our primary earlier will give Californians a greater say in nominating a President and will also increase voter engagement and turnout in down ballot races.”
“California is first in the nation on clean energy, on farming, on job growth, and in the diversity of our people,” said Senator Lara. “The Prime Time Primary bill would make us one of the first states to hold a presidential primary and ensure our state’s voters are heard in the national debate.”
In 2008, California moved up its Presidential Primary to February resulting in the highest voter turnout since 1980. The goal of Senate Bill 568 is to put California’s presidential primary election in the top tier of states after Iowa and New Hampshire
Specifically, SB 568 calls for the California presidential primary to be held on the third Tuesday in March and authorizes the Governor to move it even earlier if other states move up their primary elections.
Senate Bill 568 also consolidates the state and presidential primary votes to boost voter engagement in statewide and legislative races that fall during a presidential election year.
Senate Bill 568 will go to the Assembly, where Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Kevin Mullin has introduced a similar bill.