By Marisa Lagos
May 4, 2017

California is one step closer to having the third presidential primary in the nation, after the state Senate today overwhelmingly approved a bill to schedule future primary votes in March.

Senate Bill 568 is one of two bills being considered in the Capitol this year that would shift the state’s primary — now in June, and among the last in the nation — to March. It was approved on a bipartisan 32-6 vote.

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) authored the bill, and argued that California needs a seat at the table to help influence national decisions.

“California is first in the nation on clean energy, on farming, on job growth, and in the diversity of our people,” he said in a written statement.

“The Prime Time Primary Bill would make us one of the first states to hold a presidential primary and ensure our state’s voters are heard in the national debate.”

Senate Bill 568 would move the primary to the third Tuesday in March, after Iowa and New Hampshire. If other states moved up their primaries, it would let California’s governor move the Golden State’s even earlier.

Supporters note that in 2008, when California had a February primary, the state saw the highest voter turnout since 1980. It was later moved back to June after concerns about costs.

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