January To April 2024 Calendar

Editorial: Should 2024 primary date be moved?

Pennsylvania’s role in the 2024 presidential election cannot be underestimated.

January to April  Calendar Printable - Template
January to April Calendar Printable – Template

Since 1972, the state has only voted for the losing candidate twice, opting for Al Gore and John Kerry instead of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004. After the results have been reported in the small and sparsely populated states and the predictable ones that could be reliably calculated today, Pennsylvania is one of the handful of perennial tiebreakers.

And yet there always is a feeling of being left out early in the process.

January To April  Calendar Templates - Four Months
January To April Calendar Templates – Four Months

The primaries and caucuses that will narrow candidates to nominees will start in Iowa in January for Republicans and South Carolina in February for Democrats. By the time Pennsylvanians go to the polls April 23, 46 other primaries or caucuses will have taken place for various states and territories. Only 14 fall afterward.

It is rare for Pennsylvania — the fifth largest state in the Union — to do more than rubber-stamp the decisions made in other places and choose from the few candidates who haven’t dropped out along the way. That is despite the state moving up the primary in presidential years instead of the normal May date.

January to April  Printable Calendar
January to April Printable Calendar

Now, lawmakers are thinking about moving the 2024 date to March 19 or March 26. That might put it on the same day as other electoral powerhouses such as Arizona, Florida, Illinois and neighboring Ohio and before others such as New York and Wisconsin.

The reason is another quirk of the calendar. In 2024, the April primary date falls during Passover. Some are concerned about the intersection preventing some people from making it to the polls. A Senate committee unanimously supported the change.

January to April  Calendar Printable - Template
January to April Calendar Printable – Template

There are logistical issues with the move, should it be approved. Moving the date also moves other dates, such as when people will need to decide to run for all the other races included and when they will have to start the process of circulating petitions and collecting signatures. It’s an important aspect that deserves more consideration.

But why do we keep jumping the primary date around every four years, anyway? People are creatures of habit. If we want them to vote consistently, the date they do so should be consistent. General elections always have higher turnout than primaries. Maybe it’s because everyone knows it happens the first Tuesday in November.

If we are going to consider making another change to an already changed date in 2024, why not just bite the bullet and make it permanent?