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Earlier presidential primary date makes sense for Pa.

We learned in Thursday’s Butler Eagle that the county election bureau is preparing for an earlier primary election in 2024, a move the state Senate approved 45-2 Wednesday.

It isn’t clear when the House will take up Senate Bill 224, which would move the 2024 primary from April 23 to March 19, or whether House Democratic leadership backs the bill, but an earlier presidential primary is the right choice for Pennsylvania.

The reason is simple: Pennsylvania is historically a battleground state for presidential elections, but because its primary election is so late, voters have little to no impact on selecting the nominee.

If the bill passes, the primary election would move to the same date as Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona. It would still comes after primaries in other states with big delegate counts such as California, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts and Tennessee.

We sincerely hope that the House votes on the bill and does so soon. Some have objected that an earlier date gives less time for election related issues to be handled, and while that’s true, it’s also something that can be handled.

Even though a date change hasn’t been approved, Election Bureau Director Chantell McCurdy has already started discussions with her office about how such a change would be handled.

She noted that there is a tentative timeline already. Candidates would circulate nominating petitions from Jan. 2 to 18, and the deadline to file objections to those petitions would be Jan. 31.

A two-week period for courts to hear and rule on those objections would end Feb. 15.

The state would have till Feb. 22 to provide counties with certified lists of candidates.

Given the importance of a change to the election date, it’s good that McCurdy is ready for the possibility. We hope the House is ready to act, as well.

— JK

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