Pennsylvania tries again to move up ’24 presidential primary

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Marty Goetz, right, and Diane White, prepare the voting screens as they start to set up a polling place Monday, June 1, 2020, for the voting for Tuesday’s Pennsylvania primary in Jackson Township near Zelienople, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania is again aiming to put its presidential primary in position to determine the winner, rather than let other states play that role.

The state Senate on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill to move up Pennsylvania’s primary elections in presidential election years by five weeks to the third Tuesday in March.

That is expected to put it on the same date in 2024 as Arizona, Florida and Illinois.

Critics of Pennsylvania’s current date in state law — the fourth Tuesday of April — say its presidential primary clout is often diminished or rendered irrelevant by its relatively late vote.

“In most presidential elections, the outcome is largely decided before our voters have a chance to cast their vote,” the bill’s sponsor, state Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia, said in a statement.

The bill goes to the state House of Representatives for consideration. A spokesperson for the House Republican majority said it has not yet been discussed in the caucus.

The Senate passed an identical bill last year, but it died in the House.

Gordner said the target date for Pennsylvania’s primary will not violate any rules of the Democratic National Committee or the Republican National Committee.

Last year, Pennsylvania’s primary was held the same day as those in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Delaware.

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