California’s presidential primaries moved up to March, making it relevant in nomination process

California’s presidential primaries moved up to March, making it relevant in nomination process
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaigns in California during the 2016 presidential primary. By the time he campaigned there, he was mathematically eliminated from becoming the Democratic nominee. Noah Berger/AP
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) campaigns in California during the 2016 presidential primary. By the time he campaigned there, he was mathematically eliminated from becoming the Democratic nominee. Noah Berger/AP

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation Wednesday that moves his state’s presidential primaries up to March, a change that will give Californians more power in choosing presidential nominees.

Up until now, California held its presidential primaries in June, making it one of the last states in the country to vote. Presidential nominees are often decided by June, giving Californians little to no say in whom the major parties nominate.

The change, however, means California will be one of the earliest states to vote in the primaries, behind Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina — and the outcome in the Golden State could be determinative in who becomes the nominee.

Supporters of the move make the case that California’s size and diversity should allow the state to play a bigger role in the primary process.

“A state as populous and diverse as California should not be an afterthought,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.