The DNC will ask states looking to move forward on the schedule to submit a letter of intent by May 6, followed by a formal request due June 3. They will also make a presentation to the committee at the end of June. Then the rules committee will have six weeks to make its recommendation on the new composition of the first states, which will likely be announced at their meeting in early July. Later this summer, the rules committee’s slate of states will go to the full DNC membership for a vote to lock in the timeline for the 2024 presidential cycle.
The vote comes after months of airing grievances, with DNC members clinging to the nominating process, blaming Iowa for its lack of diversity and reigniting frustrations over the caucuses.
To address these complaints, the resolution includes a framework the committee will use when considering new states, taking into account factors such as racial, ethnic and regional diversity, including a mix of urban and rural voters; ballot access, such as the use of primaries – state-run processes with robust mail-in and early voting built into law in most states – instead of caucuses; and the competitiveness of state general elections.
Another key factor will be the ability to move a state’s primary date, which is often dictated by the party that controls the state’s legislature and governorship. Democrats currently have unified control of 14 state governments, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
A handful of states have already indicated they plan to apply. New Jersey Democrats sent a letter to DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison in mid-March saying they should come first, highlighting the state’s racial and geographic diversity. Michigan has also indicated it is interested. And Nevada, which currently sits third in the nomination order, has also been pushing to jump to the top of the list.
On Wednesday night, there was a debate among members about whether to explicitly say that caucus-style states, like Iowa, don’t need to apply for early statehood, given that many members have already expressed concern about the format. But the members of the DNC ultimately chose not to make this specification.
Scott Brennan, a member of the Iowa rules committee, said he supports leaving the general language, allowing anyone to apply. Then, he said, “Drop the chips where they can.”