California’s presidential primaries move up to March

Dan Watson/The Signal

Californians will be able to check their ballots three months earlier when presidential primary season rolls around.

Governor Jerry Brown signed a Senate Bill Wednesday that moves California’s primaries up to March instead of June starting in the 2020 election cycle.

“The Prime Time Primary puts California voters in the front seat in choosing our next president and will change our elections for the better,” Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), who authored Senate Bill 568, said in a statement.

Santa Clarita’s legislative officials had their say in pushing this bill through, with three of four voting in its favor.

Both times the bill made its way to the Senate floor, Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) voted affirmatively.

“California is the largest and most dynamic state in the union, yet our citizens are voiceless when it comes to choosing presidential party nominees,” Wilk said in a statement to The Signal.

Having a primary in March encourages candidates to interact with all Californians, according to Wilk.

“The new March primary will compel candidates to interact with real ordinary Californians, not just Silicon Valley tech executives and Hollywood movie moguls,” Wilk said. “I believe presidential candidates will get a better understanding of the hopes, aspirations and challenges of the real California when forced to campaign among the people.”

In the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee and twice on the Senate floor, Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) voted in favor of the bill.

“Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat or anywhere in between, today is a good day for Californians getting their say in who will be our next president,” Stern said. “We’re the fifth largest economy in the world and the growth engine of the entire U.S. It’s about time we got to the front of the line.”

When the bill went to the Assembly floor, Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) voted yes and Assemblyman Dante Acosta voted no.

“California often comes too late in the year to make a meaningful impact in the Presidential nomination process,” Assemblyman Lackey said in a statement to The Signal. “This new law will help give my community a greater voice in selecting our nation’s Presidential candidates.”

Acosta’s office did not wish to comment.

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