Georgia Democrats Want Earlier Say in Nominating Process

By Jerry Miller | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - David Worley, chairman of the Georgia Democratic Party, has asked the Democratic National Committee to give the south an earlier say in the nominating process.

Georgia Democrats hold their primary contest March 7th, the only southern state to do so, while South Carolina Democrats cast ballots on March 9th. Democrats in other southern states, including Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, must wait until March 14th to vote. Those in other states vote even later.

Worley does not insist that Georgia be the state chosen for the early Democratic primary, but he does say the party would benefit from an early vote in a southern state that has a large minority population.

Worley made his suggestion Saturday in Atlanta, at a meeting of the Democratic National Committee's Rules Committee.

Meanwhile, Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox has her own plan, one developed by the National Association of Secretaries of State, which includes a series of four regional primaries. Under the proposal, the nation would be divided into four regions, with a different region going first every four years.

The Democratic National Committee is also reviewing a plan from the Washington, DC-based Committee for the Study of the American Electorate. The proposal would divide the country into five areas. Smaller states would vote first, followed by larger ones.

Some larger states contend the current process gives too much power to small states such as Iowa and New Hampshire, which lack ethnic and racial diversity.

Officials in both New Hampshire and Iowa insist the current system offers under-funded candidates a fighting chance to present themselves to voters in one-on-one situations.