The rule-making panel of the Democratic National Committee will meet Friday in St. Louis as the party works to implement President Joe Biden’s plan to revamp the 2024 nominating calendar and resolve the status of the longtime early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Earlier this year, national Democrats shifted both states out of their traditional positions at the front of the calendar – New Hampshire lost its first-in-the-nation primary billing while Iowa was no longer an early-voting state. But neither state has said exactly when it’s planning to hold its Democratic nominating contest next year.
Iowa Democrats have submitted a plan to conduct their presidential preference vote entirely by mail, but they’ve yet to answer the key question of when that process will take place.
Without that information, the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee declined to approve the plan at its June meeting, and party staff said that for the plan to comply with DNC rules, the vote-by-mail period must end on or after Super Tuesday, or March 5 (the date on which every state is allowed to start holding Democratic contests).
“We’re continuing to work with the Iowa Democratic Party to navigate a system that complies with our calendar. We understand that the Iowa party will have additional updates for us ahead of the October” meeting, James Roosevelt Jr., the co-chair of the DNC rules panel, said at a meeting last month.
Shortly after that meeting, Iowa Democrats said they’d hold in-person caucuses on January 15, the same day as Republicans. Iowa law requires its caucuses to be held before any other state’s nominating contest, but under the plan proposed by state Democrats, those caucuses would only be used to conduct party business, not to vote for president.
Meanwhile, Democrats in New Hampshire continue to get closer to facing sanctions from the national party over the timing of their nominating contest.
The rules committee voted unanimously at the September meeting to give Granite State Democrats until October 14 to submit a delegate selection plan that includes an approved primary date. The national party granted the extension after the state party failed to submit by September 1 a delegate selection plan that included a primary date.
New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary status is protected by state law. But under the new Democratic primary calendar, the Granite State’s only chance to hold an early primary is to vote on February 6, 2024, the same day as Nevada and shortly after South Carolina holds its primary on February 3.
New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan has not yet set a date for the 2024 Republican and Democratic primaries, but he has said the state will not be in compliance with the DNC calendar. That could cost New Hampshire Democrats party delegates to the national convention next summer.
It would also be a violation of party rules for Biden to campaign in such a January contest in New Hampshire or even to have his name on the ballot, although voters could write him in.
While a few other states may still shift their primary dates, the rest of the Democratic calendar is largely set.
After Nevada, Michigan will hold its Democratic primary on February 27, and then the primary season will begin in earnest with Super Tuesday.