Conklin announces intention to consider Kenyatta H.B. 1634 and S.B. 224 to adjust PA’s presidential primary date
"The democratic process is one of the cornerstones of our nation, and it's our duty to ensure that the voices of all Pennsylvanians are heard,"
HARRISBURG, Aug. 28 – State Rep. Scott Conklin, D-Centre, majority chair of the PA House State Government Committee, announced today his intention to give committee consideration to both S.B. 224 (sponsored by state Sen. David Argall) and a House bill sponsored by state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. Both pieces of legislation would move up the date of the next presidential primary in Pennsylvania.
"The democratic process is one of the cornerstones of our nation, and it's our duty to ensure that the voices of all Pennsylvanians are heard," said Conklin. "I am pleased to support the Kenyatta bill, which thoughtfully moves the presidential primary to April 2. This not only gives Pennsylvanians a greater voice in national politics but also starts the petition process on January 2, after the holiday season, allowing for a more family-friendly and inclusive timeline."
Kenyatta provided his insights: "When I introduced this legislation, I’d hoped the idea would garner bipartisan buy-in, and I'm happy that is the case. Pennsylvania is a critical battleground nationally, and we deserve to be heard earlier in the process. We also need to be respectful of the Passover holiday. My proposed date of April 2 would put Pennsylvania’s elections on the same date as Wisconsin -- another battleground -- and our regional neighbors of Delaware and New York. I look forward to working with Senate sponsors to get this done.”
State Rep. Jared Solomon, a co-prime sponsor of the bill, emphasized the importance of timing. "Pennsylvania is a pivotal battleground state and moving up the primary election will provide Pennsylvanians the political weight we deserve by giving us a voice earlier in the process. At the same time, Jewish Pennsylvanians shouldn't have to choose between celebrating Passover and going to the polls."
Conklin’s announcement comes in the wake of discussions about the overlap of the original primary date, April 23, with the Jewish holiday of Passover. It should be noted that while both bills propose to move up the primary date, The Kenyatta bill does so in a way that does not conflict with religious observances or disrupt family commitments during the holiday season. Conversely, S.B. 224's March 26th date would require petitions to be circulated starting the day after Christmas and through the New Year holidays. Kenyatta's proposed date of April 2 would require petition circulation to start on Jan. 2, after the holidays have concluded.