Nevada could ditch caucuses, become first primary state with new legislation introduced in Carson City

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Lawmakers in Carson City on Monday introduced legislation to dump the caucus tradition in favor of a presidential primary — and to put Nevada first in the nation’s primary schedule.

Democratic Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson introduced AB 126.

“The time has come for Nevada to move to a primary and to move to the front of the line when it comes to nominating a president,” Frierson said in a tweet.

“Nevada’s diverse population and first-hand experience in issues relating to climate change, public lands, immigration, and health care provide a unique voice that deserves to be heard first,” Frierson said.

The legislation would set up a primary in late January — “the Tuesday immediately preceding the last Tuesday in January of each presidential election year.”

States in the West have long tried to get nearer to the start of the primary season to have a voice in the selection of candidates that has traditionally happened earlier in the East. If Nevada succeeds in becoming the first primary state, it could bring more attention to issues affecting the Western U.S.

Presidential campaigns focus heavily on early primaries.

The caucus process has also been criticized after problems in 2020 during the Iowa caucus. Nevada’s caucus escaped similar problems, but momentum for a Nevada primary gained traction again during the caucus season.

Frierson is a primary sponsor of the bill, along with Democrats Assemblywoman Teresa Benitez-Thompson and Assemblywoman Brittney Miller.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections.

Nevada State Democratic Party Chair William McCurdy II released the following statement regarding Assembly Bill 126:

Expanding access to the presidential nominating process in Nevada is something NV Dems have worked on for many years and Assembly Bill 126 is a critical next step. Last year, Democrats did incredible work to make our caucuses more accessible by including early voting and introducing multilingual trainings and materials, but the only way we can bring more voices into the process is by moving to a primary.

This legislation is yet another reason the Silver State deserves to be the first presidential nominating state in 2024. We are a majority-minority state with a strong union population and the power structure of the country is moving West. I want to thank Speaker Frierson, who has devoted his career in the Assembly to make our voting process more expansive and equitable, for his help in securing Nevada’s spot on the national stage.

This legislation changes Nevada’s presidential nominating process from a caucus system to a primary separate from the June down-ballot primary and includes ten days of early voting and same-day voter registration. It moves the date of the primary to the second to last Tuesday in January making Nevada the first in the nation presidential nominating state. Read the text of the bill here.

William McCurdy II, Nevada State Democratic Party Chair

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