Press Releases

Senator Feinstein Co-Sponsors Bill To Reform The Presidential Primary Process by Creating A Rotating Regional Primary System

-Will hold September hearing at Senate Rules and Administration Committee-

San Francisco – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she has signed on as co-sponsor to a bill to reform the Presidential primary election process by establishing a rotating schedule of regional primaries and caucuses. 

The legislation was introduced in July by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT). 

The reform is designed to unwind a Presidential primary system in which multiple states have scrambled to make their primaries the first in the nation. 

“The front-loaded primary system is chaotic and unfair to voters,” said Senator Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which oversees U.S. elections. 

At least 33 states have scheduled their Presidential primaries for before March 1, and at least 18 states plan to hold their primaries or caucuses on February 5. 

“Having so many primaries so early in an election year forces campaigning to begin much too soon. And it gives undue power to voters in early primary states, at the expense of voters in other states.” 

“This legislation will encourage candidates to focus their efforts on all voters – and will ensure that voters in all states have a meaningful voice in the selection of Presidential nominees.” 

The legislation would: 

  • Create a region-by-region system in which states in the West, Midwest, South and East would take turns hosting the first round of primaries and caucuses.
  • Starting in 2012, primaries and caucuses would begin on the first Tuesday in March, and continue on the first Tuesday in April, May and June, at which time all regions will have chosen candidates for the party conventions.
  • In the following presidential-election year, a different region would vote in the first round.
  • All regions would rotate through the first-round position once every 16 years.
  • Iowa and New Hampshire would not participate in the regional rotation, and would retain their positions of holding the first-in-the-nation caucus and primary.