Following a similar move by Republicans earlier this month , national Democrats agreed over the weekend to push back their primary calendar for the 2012 presidential election cycle while still keeping Iowa and New Hampshire in their traditional roles at the front of the nominating pack.
In delaying their primary calendars, both Republicans and Democrats hope to prevent the kind of jostling among states that had residents in some parts of the country voting for their presidential nominees just days into the new year in 2008. The jostling initially was seen as giving a handful of smaller states undue power over the outcome of the nominating process, but at least on the Democratic side, where Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton battled furiously for delegates, almost every state's primary became an important one.
Under the Democratic plan approved this past weekend, only four states will be allowed to hold primaries before March 1, 2012: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Other states will have incentives to hold their elections later, The Des Moines Register reported .
But the new Democratic calendar is already causing some problems in one key early-voting state: New Hampshire. The new schedule has Nevadans voting four days after New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary (as opposed to a caucus), but New Hampshire state law requires a seven-day period before the next state can have its say, The Concord Monitor reported .
Bill Gardner, New Hampshire's powerful secretary of state, "said the seven-day window between New Hampshire and the next state is necessary to give the impact of the New Hampshire primary time to sink in, and to ensure that candidates are able to spend time campaigning in New Hampshire," The Monitor reported.
Gardner is vowing to move up the state's primary so that it falls at least seven days before Nevada. Regardless of what national Democrats have decided, he said, "We are going to have our seven days."