Bi-partisan Panel Signs Joint Resolution for 2012 Primary Reform

by Laura Kirshner // Published August 21, 2008
The National Presidential Caucus for 2012 Primary Reform signed a joint resolution yesterday at the National Press Club following a discussion about necessary action to reform the primary system for the 2012 election. The bi-partisan panel included David Norcross, Chair Republican Party Rules Committee; James Roosevelt, Co-Chair Democratic Party Rules Committee, Trey Grayson, Kentucky Secretary of State and President-elect, National Association of Secretaries of State; and Don Means, Director of the Open Caucus Institute.

The consensus reached among the participants is that the presidential nomination process needs to start later. The unprecedented 2008 nomination process began January 3 and resulted in a race among states to the front of the nomination calendar. The purpose of pushing the schedule back is to ease the strain on election officials following the end of the busy holiday season and to prevent states from front-loading the schedule.

There are currently several proposals to reform the primaries under debate, but agreeing on a single reform plan to please all parties has proved difficult. The consensus reached yesterday to delay the start of the primary process marks a huge step towards meaningful reform.

The GOP rules for the next election cycle are decided at the Republican National Convention next week. This is our last chance to effect change for the 2012 nomination cycle.

FairVote supports this effort to encourage discussion and reform, beginning with a delay in the start of the nomination process:

News Release: National Presidential Caucus for 2012 Reform

As creators of the inclusive reform website, FairVote is pleased to support National Caucus in its call for vigorous and widespread discussion and deliberation about how best to reform the presidential nomination calendar for future elections. There indeed are few more important debates than about how best to promote equality, responsiveness and accountability in elections of our president. Political parties have the power to improve how we nominate presidents, and my experience has been that leaders of both major parties share many goals in common: an interest in more states and voters holding meaningful contests, higher voter participation and full debate within the party of different perspectives. We believe agreement between major party leaders on a better schedule is possible. Perhaps the most obvious first step to take place before 2012 is to agree to delay the timing of contests.

The urgency for making this open call for action pertains to the Republican Party rules, which require changes to be made only at their quadrennial conventions. Since both major parties must largely agree on a common calendar, there will be little opportunity to effect meaningful change after the GOP convention in September.

We urge every citizen, every state government and all political parties to give renewed intense focus to this vital public policy issue that will determine how the next primary will be run. We ask that everyone become informed on history of the process, the various proposals under consideration and to take action by advocating for the plan they support.

We further resolve since this issue is of an ongoing nature and since circumstances invariably change over time, we commit to continuing an open discussion and deliberation process that both incorporates and transcends party and governmental boundaries.