Gov. Whitmer signs bill to change Michigan presidential primary date

The bill has not yet taken effect.
Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 5:29 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - When you head to the polls for the 2024 presidential primary election, you might do so a few weeks earlier than the last time around.

State Senate Bill 13 would move the primary from March 10 to Feb. 27, making Michigan the fifth state in the primary calendar. Governor Whitmer signed the bill Wednesday. However, since the Senate did not pass the legislation with a two-thirds majority, it has not yet taken effect.

“Right now, the Democrats have passed to move the primary up to February, ours too, but the immediate effect takes a super-majority vote and Republicans have held off on giving it that,” State Sen. Ed McBroom, R-Waucedah Township, said.

McBroom said moving the primary to February would make it harder for Michigan to have an impact at the party convention.

“The Republican Party has already said that any primaries happening before March without permission would be penalized, so Republicans would lose 70 of our delegates out of 80,” McBroom said.

State Rep. Jenn Hill, D-Marquette, said there are still negotiations taking place and while the primary will be moved earlier, nothing is final.

“There are ongoing negotiations. The date has not actually been settled, and so there is an ongoing conversation,” Hill said. “We, in passing this, have stated our intent for Michigan to be earlier so we can have a larger role in choosing who will be president.”

Hill said moving the primary up on the calendar would help U.P. voters.

“What it would mean for the U.P. is there is a much higher likelihood that we are going to have a part in the process because the candidates are going to need to talk to the voters and one could have a larger say in who is chosen as president,” Hill said.

Democrats will have to work with state Republicans to reach a new deal to make the legislation law for the upcoming election.

If the legislature follows its current calendar and does not adjourn without a date until late December, the primary law can’t legally take effect until the 2028 presidential election.