A bill has been submitted in Nevada that, if passed, would change its presidential caucus to a primary, and change its date so that it’s the first in the nation. If another Western state were to schedule its nominating process to before Nevada’s, the bill has a provision that would require the Secretary of State to move Nevada’s primary, so that it takes place first.
It comes amidst a flurry of voting-related bills, including a bill by the Democrats to make voting more accessible for disabled people and a bill by the Republicans which would require voters to point out ID when voting in individual.
The bill, officially called Assembly Bill 126, was introduced by Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Assemblywomen Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Brittney Miller, all Democrats. The Nevada Democratic Party says that the bill is designed to make the nomination procedure more accessible as, according to them, Presidential caucuses weren’t bringing out disabled people and the elderly.
“Democrats did incredible work to make our caucuses more accessible by including early voting and introducing multilingual trainings and materials, but the only way we can bring more voices into the process is by moving to a primary,” Nevada Democratic chairman William McCurdy II declared in a statement.
The move is inspired by former Senator Harry Reid, who gave several interviews calling for Nevada to be prioritised in the nominating process. “I think we’re entitled to be the first state. Why? Because the power structure of this country is moving west,” he told the LA Times. Reid is expected to use his connections with President Joe Biden to advance Nevada’s cause, as the former Senate Majority Leader is still an influential figure within the national Democratic party.
However, the bill is expected to cause controversy in New Hampshire and Iowa, the first two states to hold nominations for Presidential candidate. New Hampshire’s Democratic party in particular has expressed opposition to Nevada’s potential change, and the state even has a law which states that its Presidential primary must be at least seven days before any ‘similar elections’.
“New Hampshire takes seriously every suggestion that we should not retain our first-in-the-nation status, and we believe that we have a strong argument for the Granite State to retain its place,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley told Fox News. “”The level of engagement involved in the electorate here is significantly different than anywhere else, and I think that is one of the arguments why New Hampshire should remain first. We will continue to work hard to ensure New Hampshire retains its first-in-the-nation status, and we’re confident we will succeed.”