Officials Say Pennsylvania Primary Date Cannot Move

The attempts to move Pennsylvania’s 2024 presidential primary are likely dead after state lawmakers reached an impasse last week, Lancaster Online reported.

In statements last Thursday, leadership from both the state Senate and state House said the issue was “closed,” with the House leadership adding that the matter is “unresolvable.”

The impasse comes after months of negotiations between lawmakers to reach an agreement on a new date and reached a tipping point last week after the state’s county commissioners sent a letter to Governor Josh Shapiro and the General Assembly saying it was already too late to move the primary from April 23 to an earlier date.

Last Thursday’s statements from legislative leadership were good news to the commissioners.

County Commissioners Association spokesman John Buffon said with so little time left, Pennsylvania counties would have been under “immense pressure” to handle everything required to move the presidential primary while also preparing to administer the General Election in November 2024.

Buffon said the counties will work with the governor and General Assembly “to address this issue ahead of 2028.”

A group of bipartisan lawmakers along with Governor Shapiro first recommended the move at the start of the year, both to ensure that the 2024 primary did not conflict with Passover and to place Pennsylvania earlier in the presidential primary cycle.

However, the state House and state Senate could not agree on a date, with the Senate preferring March 19 and the House proposing April 2.

After the state House finally agreed to take up the Senate’s March 19 bill, lawmakers from both sides of the state House added several amendments that were not discussed with the state Senate leadership, including expanding voter ID, pre-canvassing, and eliminating the date requirement on mail-in ballots.

With the amendments added, the Senate bill overwhelmingly failed in the House, and the chamber passed the April 2 bill on party lines and sent it to the Senate where it was dead on arrival.

Between each chamber rejecting the other’s bill and the admonishment from the county commissioners, lawmakers deemed the matter “unresolvable.”