Both chambers of the General Assembly have agreed that they want to move up North Carolina’s future primary elections for president and statewide offices, but they may have to come up with a compromise about when that change would start. The House on Tuesday voted nearly along party lines to approve a bill that would permanently move the primaries from May to March. But the 71-46 vote came after members agreed to delay the bill’s start date until 2020. Two months ago, the Senate unanimously approved the permanent change, starting in 2018. The measure now returns to the Senate, where lawmakers must decide whether they want to accept the House amendment or force negotiations on a compromise.
The legislature shifted the state’s 2016 primary to March 15 in an attempt to wield more influence over the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations.
House Minority Leader Darren Jackson, of Wake County, who proposed the amendment before later criticizing the bill, said that the delay would mean North Carolina could still accomplish its goal of being more relevant in the presidential primary without the bill getting “bogged down in any of the redistricting litigation and special elections and all the other issues that are now going on.”