Democratic Senator Ron Calderon authored the measure to move the Presidential primary to the first Tuesday in February. He says the current June date cuts California voters out of the process– something the change would fix:
“A February presidential primary will encourage presidential candidates to campaign here and to debate and discuss issues and policies important to our people. California voters deserve to play a major role in deciding the presidential nominees.”
The bill cleared the Senate election committee, and is expected to move through the legislature quickly.
Counties say they’re worried about the cost of a third election next year – which is estimated at 50-90 million dollars. But some lawmakers have indicated the state would pick up the tab. Governor Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders say they support the change.
There’s speculation that measures to revamp the way political districts are drawn, or change term limits, could also appear on a February ballot.