Interregional Primary Plan

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The Interregional Primary Plan is a proposed reform to the United States primary calendar supported by Representative Sandy Levin and Senator Bill Nelson, both Democrats. The plan would break the country into six regions. From those regions, one subregion - either a single state or a group of smaller states - would vote on each primary date (e.g., all A states,) with the entire country having held its primaries after the sixth set of primaries votes. Each state would vote first once every twenty-four years, with the first set of primaries determined by lottery and cycled thereafter.[1]

Historically, the presidential primary season started slowly, ramping up several weeks after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. In the 2008 Presidential primary season, with competition to increase the relevance of each state's selection process, 34 states (plus the District of Columbia), have scheduled their primary or caucus process to be held in January and February, tripling the number of states voting this early than the count in the 2000 races.[2]

Proposed dates[edit]

  • 1st Primaries: Second Tuesday in March
  • 2nd Primaries: First Tuesday in April
  • 3rd Primaries: Fourth Tuesday in April
  • 4th Primaries: Second Tuesday in May
  • 5th Primaries: Fourth Tuesday in May
  • 6th Primaries: Second Tuesday in June

Proposed Regions[edit]

Region Group A Group B Group C Group D Group E Group F
1 Maine
New Hampshire
Vermont
Massachusetts Connecticut
Rhode Island
Delaware
New Jersey
New York Pennsylvania
2 Maryland West Virginia Missouri Indiana Kentucky Tennessee
3 Ohio Illinois Michigan Wisconsin Iowa Minnesota
4 Texas Louisiana Arkansas
Oklahoma
Colorado Kansas
Nebraska
Arizona
New Mexico
5 Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Florida Georgia Mississippi
Alabama
6 California Washington Oregon Idaho
Nevada
Utah
Montana
North Dakota
South Dakota
Wyoming
Hawaii
Alaska

Criticisms[edit]

Travel time[edit]

The interregional plan would prevent any cost savings from travel or common media markets. Each primary date would be national in geographic scope. This is directly counter to the goal of many plans is to allow for entry of less-funded candidates early on.

Varying primary size[edit]

With random assignment to groups within each region, any given primary date could be as small as 29 congressional districts, or as large as 167 (out of 435) districts (if the random draw were to pick CA, TX, NY, FL, IL, and PA together).

With this variation in size comes a variation in importance. If a medium-sized state like Maryland (8 districts) were paired up with California in a 130-district primary, the state would have little importance. If, on the other hand, it were paired up with smaller states in a 45-district primary, Maryland would suddenly be center-stage.

With some rigging, the six primaries can be set to between 70 and 79 districts each, but again whoever gets paired with California is largely ignored.

See also[edit]

Early Votes

Reform Plans

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Rep. Levin Welcomes Senate Introduction of Presidential Primary Reform Bill", Representative Sandy Levin press release dated September 6, 2007.
  2. ^ Pantagraph Editorial Board. "End Iowa, New Hampshire dominance; rotate primaries", Bloomington Pantagraph, January 13, 2008. Accessed January 19, 2008.

External links[edit]