California Young Democrats Endorse Presidential Primary Reform Plan
Thursday, July 14, 2005

For Immediate Release                                                  

For details, contact:   David Phelps (818) 470-6971 or Josh Pasek (484) 557-4594

SAN DIEGO, CA - This past Fourth of July holiday, the California Young Democrats (CYD) celebrated the nation's birth by endorsing a reform plan to improve the way voters elect their national leader.  At its Executive Board meeting in San Diego Saturday, June 25th, CYD unanimously endorsed the American Plan, a presidential primary calendar that favors no state or region.

The American Plan is designed to begin with primaries in smaller states, and grow progressively larger and more challenging as the nominating process advances.  The schedule consists of 10 multi-state primaries
evenly spaced over twenty weeks.  The first primary would take place in a randomly selected group of states whose Congressional Districts total exactly 8 - for example, Alaska (1 CD), Arizona (6 CDs), and Delaware (1 CD).  The succeeding primaries would grow progressively larger - 16, 24, 36, etc. - up to the 10th primary, which would cover 80 CDs.

To accommodate big states, the plan shuffles some of the larger primaries into earlier rounds.  California, for example, would now be eligible to vote as early as the 4th primary (wherein states comprising a total of 56 Congressional Districts would be represented.)  In short, the plan allows many candidates to enter the race, yet forces those candidates to compete on a higher level as the race progresses.

For an in-depth explanation of the American Plan, please visit

Adoption of the American Plan would not penalize large states like California in the electoral process, would be friendly to candidates with a developing fundraising base, and would avoid the front-loaded extravaganzas such as Super Tuesday and Mega Tuesday that have ended promising presidential candidacies by the score.

Originally called The Graduated Random Presidential Primary System, the American Plan was authored by Thomas Gangale of the policy think tank OPS-Alaska based in Petaluma, California.  The Plan has received the support of the Center for Voting and Democracy, headquartered in Takoma Park, Maryland (, Rep. Lynn Woosley (D-Petaluma) and the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.  The National Association of Secretaries of State and Common Cause have also shown
interest in the plan.

"This plan maximizes the involvement of every state and forces candidates to run campaigns responsive to America's great diversity of ideas" said Rocky Fernandez, CYD Political Director.

Among primary alternatives, the Rotating Regional Primary Plan has received the most attention.  However, according to Gangale, "It has all the drawbacks of a single-day national primary and none of the
advantages.  Far from eliminating front-loading, it institutionalizes it, merely rotating it from region to region.  Whoever wins the first regional primary of the season will be the presumptive presidential nominee, and everyone else might just as well stay home and not vote.  We've had enough of that. The American Plan structures the primary schedule as a gradually accelerating process that keeps the campaign competitive longer, and gives the American people more time to make an informed decision regarding whom their next leader will be."

The DNC has empanelled the Commission on Presidential Nomination Timing and Scheduling to recommend reforms by the end of this year.  "People need to know that the way they will select the next Democratic candidate for president is being determined right now," said CYD President, Crystal Strait.  "The American people have a huge stake in this, and they need to take an active role in this process."

*  *  *

The California Young Democrats are the official youth outreach organization for the California Democratic Party.  CYD provides resources for high school, college, and young professionals through a statewide network of chartered clubs representing college and young Democrats in virtually every county of the state.  CYD also holds affiliations with national organizations such as the Young Democrats of America, the College Democrats of America and the Democratic National Committee.

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