Democrats Plan Major Shake-Up To Voting Rules Before 2024 Election

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The headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is seen in Washington, DC, August 22, 2018, after reports indicated that the DNC notified the FBI of an attempt by hackers to infiltrate the organization's voter database. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

The Democratic National Committee will vote this week on a variety of voting rules in advance of the 2024 elections. Party leaders are set to discuss changes to the presidential primary calendar, which could remove Iowa from the coveted first-in the-nation slot.

Democrats will meet this week in order to determine their presidential primary calendar. Several state leaders are pushing for early-state status. It may prove difficult to do so as it is not clear how the DNC will organize its primary calendar. President Joe Biden has also remained silent about the matter.

The rules and bylaws committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) creates the rule that determines the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination calendar. This includes determining which state’s primary or caucus receives “early” status and how these states vote. The previous primary calendar started with Iowa’s caucus a week before New Hampshire primary. Next came Nevada and South Carolina.

However, Democrats decided earlier this year to end the calendar, opening up the process to all states to submit applications to become early contenders. This decision was a long-held goal of Democrats, but it gained renewed attention after the Iowa 2020 caucuses were hampered by technological problems, which delayed the count for several days.

Some states point to Democratic gains in their elections as proof they need to be moved up in the calendar, with the midterm cycle still barely behind them. These include Minnesota and Michigan, both of which are vying for Iowa’s replacement in the Midwestern region of the early-state lineup. Both states demonstrated Democratic strength in midterm elections. The party won control of both state legislature chambers and reelected their Democratic governors.

It’s not clear which state will take over, but Democrats are said to be poised for Iowa to be removed from its first-in-the nation spot and possibly even from the early voting list.

“I don’t believe there’s any way Iowa can stay, and there’s no reason for Iowa not to stay,” a Democrat who was familiar with the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee process, which reordered the calendar, told Politico. “From an electoral perspective, we have lost Iowa completely.”

Despite objections from Governor, Nevada is now vying for New Hampshire’s first primary. Chris Sununu (R, NH) believes the Democrats are wasting time.

“Nevada wants first?” Let’s all have a great time having a laugh about that. They are still counting votes. This isn’t something. It’s not something that you get because you want it. It takes effort to get it, high voter turnout, transparency and results. We did four recounts yesterday, so boom, done.” Sununu said to the Washington Post one week following the midterm elections.

Sununu also mentioned a New Hampshire law that requires the secretary of state to schedule primary elections at the least seven days prior to any other state. This makes it unclear what Democrats will do. New Hampshire’s Democratic candidates would be confronted with the choice of disregarding state rules or being punished by party leaders.

However, Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democratic Senator from Nevada, has pushed for Nevada to occupy the first primary slot. She argued that Nevada’s battleground status makes it a crucial investment for Democrats.

Cortez Masto stated that Nevada is a state that truly — that wants people vote, and protects their right to vote. Remember, Nevada is a beautiful state. It’s a microcosm for the rest of the nation, I believe. If you are a presidential candidate, and you win in Nevada you can send a message that resonates throughout the country.

Officials say that the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee will meet on Thursday and vote to approve its calendar proposal by Saturday. The entire DNC will then vote on the proposal in January or February.

Already earlier this year, the Republican National Committee voted to confirm its presidential primary calendar, keeping its current lineup consisting of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.