Iowa Democrats announced Friday that they would comply with a reworked Democratic National Committee (DNC) Presidential primary calendar in 2024.
The new DNC calendar breaks with decades of tradition in which Iowa and New Hampshire were the first two states to hold nominating contests. It moves up South Carolina, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan.
Under the Iowa Democrats’ proposal, voters in that state will have until March 5 to cast their votes for the party’s Presidential nominee in a process that would be conducted entirely by mail.
The Iowa proposal would allow Democrats to register to receive a Presidential preference card in the mail starting November 1. The cards would then start mailing out on January 12, and the last day to request one would be February 19. Results would be announced March 5—also the last day that voters can mail their cards.
The primary calendar shake-up was sparked after Iowa’s caucuses suffered a fiasco in 2020 involving an untested app used to tabulate results led to significant delays and raised security concerns.
The DNC announced the new calendar after asking President Biden for his input, and he reportedly told Democrats he wanted to move South Carolina first in the pecking order, so as to prioritize racial diversity in the party’s primary process.
“For decades, Black voters in particular have been the backbone of the Democratic Party but have been pushed to the back of the early primary process,” Biden wrote in a December 2022 letter to the DNC on personal stationery that did not carry the White House seal. “We rely on these voters in elections but have not recognized their importance in our nominating calendar. It is time to stop taking these voters for granted, and time to give them a louder and earlier voice in the process.”
Biden did not mention any particular state by name in his letter.
Despite Iowa’s move, New Hampshire Democrats are poised to ignore the new calendar and potentially face sanctions from the DNC by holding their state’s primary ahead of the official new schedule.
The new DNC calendar dictates that South Carolina hold the first primary on February 3, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada on February 6, Georgia on February 13, and Michigan on February 27. Any state can hold a nomination contest starting March 5, which is Super Tuesday.