Could PA’s Primary Election be moved up a month and if so, what would it mean for the election process? 

Chambersburg — The Pennsylvania Senate moved legislation through a committee on Wednesday that would push back the 2024 Primary Election from April 23 to March 19. 

Current Pennsylvania law says the election will be held on the fourth Tuesday in April. 

Often, the earlier the Primary Election, the more influence voters in that state would have over the process of presidential campaigns. 

If the primary is in March, it would mean the primary season would technically begin during the winter holidays — PA has a 13-week primary period. 

Additionally, April 23 is the first day of passover, a Jewish holiday that precludes participants from driving, working or using electricity. Could that alter the election results?

Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona also have Primary Elections on March 19. Primaries in California, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts and Tennessee take place before March 19.  

Other dates in March and early April are also being considered for the PA primary. 

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM pointed out, “That’s a big issue for states and how much attention the states get in the primaries. We’re already a battleground state. It worries me a little bit to do this.”

PA Representative Rob Kauffman said, “What we are hearing and of course, when we’re out of session, you hear the rumors that the legislative leadership have come together with the administration and there’s an agreement on a move of the presidential primary so that Pennsylvania matters in the primary process. This has been talked about for more than a dozen years that we need to get in the game. We need to be earlier in the process, as a key swing state we need to be involved really in deciding the presidential primaries. That would be a huge change. It would change our election calendar overall. It would make the election calendar process start the day after Christmas. It would definitely throw a wrench in the usual works of getting on the ballot and that process, but it may put us in the game if there are highly contested primaries. We’ll see what’s in the legislation because this is an election code bill. We’ve learned in the past, make sure that the election code bill is a very clean bill. I generally am open to the idea, but I am non-committal until I see what is in this election code bill.”

Jansen noted, “Let’s remember Pennsylvania is one of the states that figured into the whole January 6 strategy because state laws were not written as clearly as they should have been and you had people in the Wolf administration taking advantage of that, to change things in real time as we’re trying to understand how we can vote and what’s fair voting in the 2020 election. It was a mess. So Rob’s right. We really want to make sure this is a precise language that can’t be fooled with.”