Pennsylvania’s House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to move up the state’s 2024 presidential primary election by three weeks, but disagreements have arisen with Republican senators who wanted an even earlier date.
The bill narrowly passed, 102-100, with every Democrat voting “yes” and every Republican voting “no.” Its future is uncertain in the state Senate, which was scheduled to reconvene Oct. 16.
The effort to move up the primary date from April 23 —the date set in law — is driven primarily to avoid a conflict with the Jewish holiday of Passover.
The bill backed by House Democrats would move up the date by three weeks to April 2, putting it on the same date as presidential primaries in Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.
Senate Republicans have pushed legislation to move up the primary election date by five weeks to March 19. Senate Republicans say that would give voters in the battleground state more of a say in deciding presidential nominees.
House Republicans say moving up the primary date will create chaos for county election administrators and that Jewish voters who observe Passover can vote early by mail. Critics also say moving up the primary — particularly by five weeks — would help protect incumbent lawmakers by giving primary challengers less time to prepare.
The Senate Republican bill failed in the House after both Republicans and Democrats added lengthy amendments making major changes to Pennsylvania’s voter identification requirements and mail-in voting rules.
Ohio, Florida, Illinois, Kansas and Arizona hold primaries on March 19, after primaries in other big delegate states, including California, Texas, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts and Tennessee.