LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- The Nevada legislature introduced a bill Monday that would change the state's presidential elections to a primary system.
Assembly Bill 126 was introduced on the assembly floor Monday afternoon. The bill details the requirements for conducting a presidential primary election. It would set the primary for second to last Tuesday of January in a presidential election year.
If passed, Nevada would hold its presidential primary on Jan. 23, 2024, making it the first state to hold a primary election to help determine a party leader.
Nevada currently operates on a caucus system in which voters from one political party gather to elect delegates, with the largest group winning the votes. The caucus system has been criticized for being complicated, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when many people did not want to physically appear to vote and be part of a delegation. Nevada Democrats allowed voters to "early caucus" in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
In early February, the Associated Press reported that Nevada Democrats were trying to jockey for the top spot in the presidential primaries ahead of New Hampshire and Iowa, putting Nevada in the spotlight for presidential election years to set the tone on who may be the next party nominee.
Nevada State Democratic Party Chairman William McCurdy II released a statement on the bill:
Expanding access to the presidential nominating process in Nevada is something NV Dems have worked on for many years and Assembly Bill 126 is a critical next step. Last year, Democrats did incredible work to make our caucuses more accessible by including early voting and introducing multilingual trainings and materials, but the only way we can bring more voices into the process is by moving to a primary.
This legislation is yet another reason the Silver State deserves to be the first presidential nominating state in 2024. We are a majority-minority state with a strong union population and the power structure of the country is moving West. I want to thank Speaker Frierson, who has devoted his career in the Assembly to make our voting process more expansive and equitable, for his help in securing Nevada’s spot on the national stage.
AB126 will be sent to the Committee on Legislative Operations and Elections for consideration.
Governor Steve Sisolak's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.