On May 31, the Alabama legislature passed HB358. It moves the presidential primary from June to February 5. The legislature had passed a similar bill last year, but it didn’t go into effect because the state didn’t send it in to the federal Voting Rights office for approval. The state didn’t send in the 2006 version because it had a drafting flaw. It moved the primary for all office, not just president, from June to February. No one had intended that result.
The new, 2007 version of the February presidential primary bill has an odd twist. It provides that the state’s two coastal counties should vote on January 30, 2008, but the results won’t be released to the public until the evening of February 5. The two coastal counties had complained that they couldn’t possibly hold an election on February 5, 2008, because that day is Mardi Gras. Many streets are closed for parades.