(WHTM)– The pack of Republicans who want to be president are off and running but for most, the race will end before Pennsylvanians vote in the late April primary.
“Pennsylvania is always one of the top two targeted states in the country for a presidential candidate to win in order to win the presidency,” President Pro Tempore Senator Kim Ward (R) said. “But we never count at the beginning. We don’t have input into who our candidate is.”
Senate Bill 224 would change that and move the primary date from the current April 23, the first day of Passover, to March 19, a post-St. Patrick’s primary.
“It seems to be a consensus around moving the primary date,” Minority Leader Jay Costa (D) said. “We just haven’t really settled on a date right now.”
Costa says every new date suggested raises new issues.
“The problem with March 19 is that you’re going to start circulating petitions Dec. 19, which leads into Christmas week,” Costa said.
“Our concerns right now are moving it off of one date and landing it in conflict with another date,” Dauphin County Elections Director Jerry Feaser said.
Feaser says there are lots of logistics like scheduling and training of poll workers, and securing voting machines and polling places.
“When you change a date, you change every date that’s tied to that election date, petition circulation, petition filing, petition challenges and everything else, application for mail-in ballots and absentee ballots,” Feaser said.
Feaser says counties will adjust to whatever lawmakers decide but he urges them to decide quickly so he and his colleagues across the commonwealth have time to prepare.
“There’s 67 folks in this in this state right now that are really worried about where this date is going to fall,” Feaser said.
The primary move is for next year only not a permanent change to Pennsylvania primary dates, which is standard.