HENDERSON, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 08: People vote as poll workers assist at a polling place at Galleria at Sunset on November 08, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
HENDERSON, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 08: People vote as poll workers assist at a polling place at Galleria at Sunset on November 08, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. After months of candidates campaigning, Americans are voting in the midterm elections to decide close races across the nation. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Nevada was also one of the first three states to vote in the 2020 primary season but voted 19 days after Iowa and 11 days after New Hampshire. By moving Nevada’s primary date earlier, the DNC will give voters in the state more influence in determining the party’s presidential nominee. 

Nevada voters could play a critically important role in deciding the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2024, as residents of the Silver State are currently slated to vote on the second primary election day of the year. 

The Democratic National Committee (DNC)’s Rules and Bylaws Committee last week approved a plan for South Carolina to vote first in the 2024 presidential primary on Feb. 3, followed by Nevada and New Hampshire on Tuesday, Feb. 6. Georgia and Michigan would then follow later in the month, rounding out the first five early states on the calendar. 

Nevada was also one of the first three states in 2020 but voted 19 days after Iowa and 11 days after New Hampshire. By moving Nevada’s primary date up, the DNC committee will give voters in the state more influence in determining the party’s nominee. 

The new schedule—which largely mirrored President Joe Biden’s recommendation to sideline Iowa in favor of states that are more economically and racially representative of the party and the nation—is not yet final. The Democratic parties in each state must prove by Jan. 5 that they can meet the demands required of them and follow the DNC’s rules and calendar, or they risk losing their early position. 

The schedule is likely to be finalized by the full DNC in February.

Nevada’s bigger role in the primary process comes amid a strong push from the state’s Democratic US senators, Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen, who wanted Nevada to be first in the primary lineup. Nevada’s Democratic congressional delegation, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and nonprofit groups like Voto Latino also endorsed Nevada for the first-in-the-nation slot. The coalition highlighted Nevada’s economic and racial diversity, strong union presence, and the high percentage of working-class and immigrant voters. 

In a statement after Friday’s vote, Cortez Masto and Rosen celebrated Nevada’s earlier primary date but urged the DNC to reconsider moving Nevada to the first slot in 2028.

“While this new calendar represents progress, we continue to believe the first presidential nominating contest should be held in a competitive, pro-labor state that supports voting rights and reflects all of America’s diversity,” the senators told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Nevada is accessible, it is union-strong, it has double-digit representation of Latino, Black, and AAPI voters, and it is the most consistently competitive battleground in the nation. Nevada still has the strongest argument for being the First In The Nation primary, and we will keep making our case for 2028.”

The 2024 schedule may ultimately wind up being somewhat irrelevant, however, if President Joe Biden decides to run for reelection, as is expected, and doesn’t receive a primary challenge. 

Under Nevada law, political parties must hold their presidential primaries on the first Tuesday in February of each presidential election year—which falls on Feb. 6 in 2024—unless a candidate for one party is running uncontested. If that were to happen, the Nevada secretary of state would be obligated to certify that candidate to the state central committee and the national committee of the party.