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DNC Sets New Early Primary Calendar

The Democratic National Committee overwhelming adopted a new early primary schedule that will start with South Carolina (Feb. 3), Nevada and New Hampshire (if they change their date) (Feb. 6),  Georgia, pending approval (Feb. 13), and Michigan (Feb. 27).  The remaining states will have primaries – and a few party-run primaries (caucuses) – between March 5 and June 12, 2024.

The DNC ratified the decision of the Rules and Bylaws Committee to grant waivers to the five states and allow them to hold primaries before March 5, 2024.  The new schedule improves the diversity and fairness of the process. The DNC changed the 50-year old schedule under which Iowa held the first contest (a caucus), followed by the NH primary, followed by SC and NV since 2008, followed by everyone else.

To implement the DNC schedule, New Hampshire will have to agree to move back its primary and the George Secretary of State will have to move up its primary by June 3, 2023.  If NH insists on using its traditional date, the DNC will call upon Democratic candidates not to file for that primary and it will not recognize those primary results.  Instead, NH Democrats – as well as Iowa Democrats – will have to hold a party-run primary to choose the delegates to the National Convention.  In short, state legislatures can set primary delegates, but the political parties have a First Amendment Freedom of Association right to determine whether to seat those delegates, or require an alternative process.  The DNC has promised to reconsider the calendar again in 2028.

The RBC will next meet on June 30, 2023 to begin a busy summer of reviewing 57 state Delegate Selection Plans.

The DNC should be updating their 2024 Presidential Nominating Process page with the final Rules, Call, Regulations, etc. shortly.