Skip to content

DNC RBC Transforms Early Primaries

For the past 50 years the first two state presidential nominating contests have been in Iowa and New Hampshire.  But it doesn’t always have to be that way and the Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee (RBC) yesterday voted to recommend to the full DNC a transformative change that will make the process more diverse and representative of America in the 21st Century.  President Joe Biden sent the DNC RBC a letter setting forth his goals for our nomination process including ensuring that voters of color have a voice in the early process, states represent economic, geographic, and demographic diversity, and calling for use of primaries (instead of assembled caucuses) (see letter below).  The President recommended, and the RBC accepted, this calendar:

  • February 3 – South Carolina
  • February 6 – Nevada and New Hampshire
  • February 13 – Georgia
  • February 27 – Michigan

To implement this calendar, the RBC voted to grant waivers to these five states to allow them to proceed before the “window” period of March 5 to June 12, 2024.  The full DNC will vote on ratification of these waivers at its next meeting, February 2-4, 2023 in Philadelphia.  To take advantage of the waivers, states must commit to take necessary actions, including changes in state law in some cases, by January 5, 2023.  So the DNC can say it will grant waivers to recognize early primary dates, but state law provides when the states can actually hold the primaries.  South Carolina needs only a statement by the Democratic party Chair, Nevada law currently provides for  February 6 primary, New Hampshire will have to change its date and allow early voting, Georgia requires a statement by the Secretary of State, and Michigan must enact a new statute.  If states don’t take these actions, they will not be able to chose national convention delegates during these dates and must proceed during the regular window.

The change is more significant than many people anticipated, but it is past time to bring our process forward and have a nomination process that reflects who American really is.

  President_Biden_Ltr_to_DNC.pdf (1.9 MiB, 251 hits)