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Voters in South Carolina would go first in picking Democratic presidential nominees, followed by Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia and Michigan

WASHINGTON — If the states of Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Michigan agree to the proposal that was approved by a key panel of the Democratic National Committee on Friday, then voters in South Carolina would select Democratic presidential nominees first, followed by voters in Nevada, New Hampshire, and Michigan.

The proposal to move the earliest election date of the Democratic primary away from the longtime first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses received a nearly unanimous voice vote in the Rules and Bylaws Committee. Despite this, New Hampshire would continue to play an early role in the primary election and would vote just one week after South Carolina. President Joe Biden, who didn’t win a primary in 2020 until South Carolina, was the one who demanded the major shakeup in the procedure that the party uses to nominate its presidential candidate.

There were 33 people on the committee, and just two of them, Scott Brennan from Iowa and Joanne Dowdell from New Hampshire, were against the modification.

A few minutes before the vote, Brennan made the statement that “small, rural states like Iowa must have a role in our presidential selection process.” It would be irresponsible for Democrats to ignore large voter blocs in the center of the Midwest; doing so would cause the party irreparable harm that would take decades to repair.

Brennan continued by saying that the addition of “two very huge, very expensive states” to the mix would “certainly favor front-runners and billionaire vanity candidates.” It appears that Brennan was referring to Michigan and Georgia.

Dowdell suggested that the state in which she was born might not be able to comply with the new plan, noting that there is a legislation in New Hampshire that stipulates that New Hampshire must go first.

Before the polls opened, Dowdell stated that the state of New Hampshire does in fact have a statute and that the state does in fact have a law, and that they would not be breaching their legislation. “And I feel that any lawyer in this room or around this table would agree that it is not in the best interest of this body to even suggest that we do that,” the speaker said. “It is not in the best interest of this body to even suggest that we do that.”

Since the 1970s, the Democratic presidential nomination process has started in Iowa. This has resulted in an enormous amount of attention, as candidates for the Democratic nomination canvass the state for months or even years in advance to garner support. It was decided that Michigan would take its place as an early voting state in the Midwest region.

Conditional approval

The Democratic National Committee Rules and Bylaws Committee held a vote on Friday afternoon inside a hotel ballroom in Washington, D.C. The vote would conditionally approve waivers for those five states to hold their Democratic presidential primary election days ahead of the regular window, which runs from the first Tuesday in March through the second Tuesday in June.

In the year 2024, South Carolina would vote on February 6, Nevada and New Hampshire would vote on February 13, Georgia and Michigan would vote on February 20, and Michigan would vote on February 27. However, the waivers would need to be approved by the whole DNC at a meeting in February.

These five states are required to show the national party that they are moving to have their presidential primaries in 2024 on those dates before the Democratic National Committee will give its approval to the adjustments. In that case, the Democratic National Committee would then vote to adopt the waivers that were approved by the Rules and Bylaws Committee on Friday.

Whether or not those five states will be able to hold their Democratic presidential primaries on those dates depends on a variety of factors. The date of the primary election in South Carolina is determined by the chair of the party; the dates of the primary elections in Michigan, Nevada, and New Hampshire are determined by state law; and the date of the primary election in Georgia is determined by the secretary of state of that state.

In addition, the panel of the DNC stated that in order for New Hampshire to obtain approval for its waiver to host an early primary, the state must increase the number of days on which early voting is permitted.

In the event that a state does not satisfy the standards that were established by the DNC panel on Friday, the whole DNC will not approve the waiver, and the state will be required to hold its primary during the usual primary election schedule.

If a state that does not have a waiver decides to hold its Democratic presidential primary outside of that window, the state will be subject to a number of serious repercussions.

According to the rules of the DNC, that state would immediately lose half of its delegates. It would be against the law for those running for president to campaign in the state, and that would include getting their name on the ballot. If a Democratic presidential candidate broke that limitation, they would not earn any committed delegates or votes from delegates in that state.

Without a voice and without a vote

After the vote, Chair of the Democratic National Committee Jaime Harrison stated that he felt emotional when he heard that Vice President Joe Biden was going to advise South Carolina go first in the Democratic presidential nominating process. Harrison’s statement came after the vote.

On Thursday, Vice President Biden sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee in which he stated, “We must ensure that people of color have a role in picking our nominee much earlier in the process and during the entire early window.” Both Iowa and New Hampshire have much more white residents than any other race.

“As I stated in February 2020, you cannot be the Democratic nominee and win a general election without having overwhelming support from voters of color,” Biden wrote. “This includes Black, Brown, and Asian American and Pacific Islander voters.” Biden was referring to the fact that in order to be the Democratic nominee, a candidate must have the support of a majority of voters of color.

Harrison stated that changing the criteria for determining which Democratic voters get an early voice in the process of presidential nomination will assist in elevating people who have historically been “voiceless and vote-less.”

He stated that Latinos in Nevada “have been increasing their political power and rising their voices,” while noting that South Carolina “is a state where 40% of enslaved people came through the port of Charleston.”

Harrison stated that Michigan’s new role exemplified the “heartland” and that it was a place in which labor unions contributed to the development of the middle class “not just in that state, but throughout the nation.”

Harrison referred to Georgia as the “Phoenix of the new South,” stating that the state “has risen from the ashes of the old South… representing all of our diverse and progressive beliefs.”

According to him, the continued participation of New Hampshire in the early Democratic primary states would continue “the great heritage here in America that little government is good governance.”

Harrison was quoted as saying that “this idea reflects the finest of our party as a whole, and it will continue to make both our party and our country stronger.” “Also, it will amplify the voices of those individuals who are the party’s pillars,”

The laws of the states

Even though Iowa and New Hampshire both have state laws that could keep them at the front of the line, the top lawyer for the Democratic National Committee stated on Friday that he expects the new order to continue moving forward. This is despite the fact that the transition to a different slate of early primary states could face some hiccups.

According to Graham Wilson, the general counsel for the party, “the party does not have the capacity to prescribe to a state what its law is, nor does the party have the ability to compel a change to a state’s legal system.” “The party has the ability to impose its will on the procedure that we use to choose our nominee.”

Wilson stated that the Supreme Court “has repeatedly recognized the rights of political parties under the First Amendment to select the manner” in which they choose nominees. Additionally, Wilson stated that the Supreme Court “has repeatedly invalidated state laws that limit or infringe on a party’s ability to dictate how they select their nominees.”

Attorney General John M. Formella of New Hampshire said in a statement on Friday that “political parties don’t control when elections are held,” indicating that he does not necessarily agree with that assertion.

According to Formella, “In our state, RSA 653:9 obligates the New Hampshire Secretary of State to establish the primary date at least seven days prior a similar election in any other state.” In other words, the primary date must come before the election in any other state that has a similar election. “The law in New Hampshire stipulates that the Secretary of State is the one who must determine when this election will take place, and this must be done regardless of any activities taken by a political party.”

In a written statement, the chair of the Democratic Party in Iowa, Ross Wilburn, claimed that “state law requires us to have a caucus before the last Tuesday in February, and before any other contest.”

“When we submit our delegate selection plan to the Rules and Bylaws Committee early next year, we will adhere to the legal requirements of the State of Iowa, and address compliance with DNC rules in subsequent meetings and hearings,” Wilburn wrote. “When we submit our delegate selection plan to the Rules and Bylaws Committee early next year, we will adhere to the legal requirements of the State of Iowa.”

He also mentioned that the upcoming Iowa Democratic caucuses will be very different from the ones that were plagued with issues in 2020, saying that the party has implemented a “simplified vote-by-mail process that increases accessibility and grows our Party.” This was in reference to the fact that in 2020, the caucuses were plagued with issues.

On Friday, the office of the Attorney General in the state of Iowa stated that it “would have to do further investigation on the topic before” it could comment on the matter.

The proposal that Georgia’s Republicans should hold their primary on one day and the Democrats should hold theirs on a different day was shot down by Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State, Jordan Fuchs.

According to Fuchs, “Our legal team has repeatedly stated that both parties’ primaries are going to happen on the same day and that we will not cost anyone any delegates.”

Nikema Williams, the chairwoman of the Georgia Democratic Party and a member of the United States House of Representatives, lauded the vote in the committee.

“Georgia Democrats have always said that our state will play a critical role in the national political landscape for years to come and must be prioritized as such,” she said. “Georgia Republicans have always said that our state will play a critical role in the national political landscape for years to come.” “We are happy for the committee’s acknowledgement of the Democratic Party’s dedication to diversity and inclusivity, which was reflected in today’s vote by the Rules and Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Georgia as an early primary state,”

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