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Pa. election 2024: What is the date of Pennsylvania’s presidential primary election?

by Sarah Anne Hughes of Spotlight PA |

Voters went to the polls in Pennsylvania on Election Day 2022.
Amanda Berg / For Spotlight PA

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HARRISBURG — The first test of the 2024 presidential election has come and gone in Iowa, where former President Donald Trump emerged on top of the Republican field.

Dozens of other states will hold primary elections and caucuses in the coming months, including Pennsylvania, though commonwealth voters will have to wait to have their say.

Here’s what you need to know about Pennsylvania’s 2024 presidential primary election date and more:

Table of Contents

When is Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary election?

Pennsylvania’s primary election is scheduled for April 23, 2024.

Where does Pennsylvania’s 2024 presidential primary rank compared to other states?

Pennsylvania has one of the latest dates for a presidential primary election.

Just 10 states — Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, and West Virginia — have later primary election dates for both Democrats and Republicans; Washington, D.C., will hold its Democratic primary in June.

Other states hold presidential caucuses, including Idaho, where the Democratic caucus is not set to take place until late May.

Who can vote in Pennsylvania’s 2024 primary?

Pennsylvania has a closed primary system, meaning only registered Democrats and Republicans can vote for candidates during partisan spring elections.

All registered voters can vote on local and statewide ballot initiatives during a primary election, as well as special elections that coincide with the primary date.

Will Pennsylvania move its 2024 primary date?

As of Jan. 16, it appears that the state will not move its 2024 presidential primary election date.

The Democratic-controlled state House and Republican-controlled state Senate have been unable to agree on a different date, and election officials have warned that any such change should be made at least a year in advance.

Why do some want to move the date of the primary?

The current date conflicts with Passover, a holiday during which some Jews avoid driving, writing, and other activities, as they do on the Sabbath.

Is there a political benefit to moving Pennsylvania’s primary?

Some lawmakers argue that moving Pennsylvania’s primary to an earlier date would give the state more influence in the presidential election.

“By the time Pennsylvanians have the opportunity to select candidates for the general election, many potentially good candidates have already exited the race due to results in earlier primary states,” state Senate President Pro Tempore Kim Ward (R., Westmoreland) said in a statement in September 2023.

What are the arguments against moving the primary?

The county officials who run elections and other voting experts have major logistical concerns about moving the 2024 primary at this point.

In a September 2023 letter to legislative leaders obtained by Votebeat’s Carter Walker, the Election Law Advisory Board — a bipartisan panel that makes suggestions about how to improve the state’s voting rules — said that if the primary date is to be changed, it should be done at least a year in advance.

“In many instances, contracts to receive polling places are made a year in advance,” the board’s members — including lawmakers and county commissioners — wrote. “Clerks, inspectors, and volunteers have already been recruited and planned their schedules around the anticipated primary date.”

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