The two-year operating budget will move next year’s presidential primary to St. Patrick’s Day, March 17.
Republicans moved it to after March 15 so they could award all delegates to a single candidate. And they did it over the objections of Democrats.
Republicans aren’t expected to have a competitive presidential primary, but Democrats are. Democrats complained St. Patrick’s Day parades and activities could create problems in finding poll workers and make voting difficult in some areas.
Republican Senate Finance Chair Matt Dolan said 28 days of absentee voting addresses that concern.
“If between the hours of 6:30 to 7:30 at night on St. Patrick’s Day, if you feel the festivities will keep you from a poll, you have multiple opportunities to vote. I don’t. It’s a nonissue,” he said.
Dolan noted Ohioans will vote on the same day as people in Arizona, Florida and Illinois, where Chicago hosts major St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Dolan said moving the primary to a week later would have made candidates’ paperwork due on Christmas Eve.