Rep. Levin Welcomes Senate Introduction of Presidential Primary Reform Bill

Sep 6, 2007 Issues: Government Reform
(Washington D.C.)-  Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI) and Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) have joined together to reform the presidential primary nominating system.  Senator Nelson today introduced companion legislation to Rep. Levin’s interregional primary reform bill introduced earlier this year.

“Florida and Michigan are at the epicenter of efforts to end the current unfair system of nominating our President,” said Rep. Levin.  “These efforts to end the stranglehold that New Hampshire and Iowa have are a symptom of the problem and this legislation is a solution.”

“We need an orderly primary and caucus system that combines the need to bring Americans truly into the decision-making process with the need to allow candidates the opportunity to interact meaningfully with citizens throughout the nation,” said Rep. Levin.  “This legislation spaces out the primary dates over several months, requiring candidates to establish themselves in multiple states.  At the same time, each primary date will include at least one state from every region in the country, which will ensure that a broad spectrum of Americans' views is accounted for in the selection process,” concluded Levin. 

The legislation would establish six primary or caucus dates between March and June.  On each of the dates, a state or group of smaller states from each region of the country would go on every day.  Every election date would have a fair and representative presence from every region of the country.

Below is an explanation of the legislation.  Levin first introduced this legislation in 1986 when the problem was first becoming apparent but which has since dramatically magnified.

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Rep. Sander Levin and Senator Bill Nelson
Presidential Primary Reform Bill

House Bill 1523 and the Senate bill, Fair and Representative Presidential Primary System of 2007 would create an interregional system for the selection of delegates to political party Presidential nominating conventions through caucuses or primaries.

The primary or caucus dates would be scheduled between March and June as follows: second Tuesday in March, first Tuesday in April, fourth Tuesday in April, second Tuesday in May, fourth Tuesday in May, second Tuesday in June

On each of the above dates, a state or group of smaller states from each region of the country would go on every day.  Every election date would have a fair and representative presence from every region of the country.

One sub-region from each region would hold its caucus or primary on one of six dates between March and June of the Presidential Election year. 

The regions and sub-regions are broken down below.  This is not a regional primary system.  Under this proposal, one group (A-F below) from each region would go on the same election date.  This would be determined by lottery and rotate each cycle

Region 1: (A) Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont; (B) Massachusetts; (C) Connecticut, Rhode Island; (D) Delaware, New Jersey; (E) New York; (F) Pennsylvania

Region 2: (A) Maryland; (B) West Virginia; (C) Missouri; (D) Indiana; (E) Kentucky; (F) Tennessee

Region 3: (A) Ohio; (B) Illinois; (C) Michigan; (D) Wisconsin; (E) Iowa; (F) Minnesota

Region 4: (A) Texas; (B) Louisiana; (C) Arkansas, Oklahoma; (D) Colorado; (E) Kansas, Nebraska; (F) Arizona, New Mexico

Region 5: (A) Virginia; (B) North Carolina; (C) South Carolina; (D) Florida; (E) Georgia; (F) Mississippi, Alabama

Region 6: (A) California; (B) Washington; (C) Oregon; (D) Idaho, Nevada, Utah; (E) Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming; (F) Hawaii, Alaska

For the first Presidential election this Act would apply to, the Election Assistance Commission would determine by lottery the order in which each sub-region would hold its caucus or primary.  If a state goes first during one cycle, it will go sixth (last) in the next cycle, and fifth in the following cycle, moving up one slot each cycle.  During a 24-year rotation, then, every state will have occupied every primary and caucus slot exactly once. 

Below  is a map that illustrates one possible combination of states for 1 of the 6 elections.
**In the legislation this would be determined by lottery and rotate each cycle**

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