Senator Lara, Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Mullin and Secretary of State Padilla Make Unified Call for Prime Time Primary Bill

August 31, 2017

Senate Bill 568 will move presidential primary to first Tuesday in March to make California voters count

SACRAMENTO, California – Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo) and Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced they are joining forces behind the Prime Time Primary (Senate Bill 568), which will advance California’s presidential primary from one of the last in the nation to one of the first.

In amendments being introduced today, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Mullin, the author of related measure Assembly Bill 84, will be a principal coauthor of the Prime Time Primary bill, and will join Senator Lara in the effort to pass SB 568 to Governor Brown’s desk. Senate Bill 568 is sponsored by Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

The Prime Time Primary would move the statewide primary to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March during a presidential election year. The California primary has traditionally been held in June, at the tail end of the primary schedule. Last year only the District of Columbia held a later election.

SB 568 passed the Senate floor with bipartisan support and will be eligible for a vote by the full Assembly as soon as this week.

“California is leading the nation on creating jobs, fighting pollution and protecting the rights of all who live here, and our voters need to be front and center in the presidential election,” said Senator Ricardo Lara. “The Prime Time Primary is a bipartisan idea that will engage voters and force candidates in both parties to do more than pay lip service and extract campaign cash from Californians.”

“Both Senator Lara and I agree that it’s time to make California count when it comes to presidential primaries,” said Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin. “By combining our efforts on SB 568, we have a great opportunity to make sure that our voters have a more prominent voice at a time when candidates are first being tested for national strength and viability.”

“Moving our state’s primary to primetime is good for all Californians,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “SB 568, our plan to move up California’s primary, has received bipartisan support in the legislature. I am proud that Senator Lara and Assemblymember Mullin are united behind SB 568 to strengthen California’s impact and influence in the presidential nominating process. The most populous and most diverse state in the nation should not be an afterthought.”

In 2008, California moved up its Presidential Primary to February resulting in the highest voter turnout since 1980. The goal of Senate Bill 568 is to put California’s presidential primary election in the top tier of states after Iowa and New Hampshire. Last year 10 states including Texas and Virginia held their primary on March 1, known as Super Tuesday.

Senate Bill 568 also consolidates the state and presidential primary votes and moves up the primary election to March in non-presidential years to boost voter engagement, reduce costs for local elections and limit voter confusion.