Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a law that will make his state the first in the nation to host a presidential primary election, jumping ahead of the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire's primary election.
Under the new law, the Nevada presidential primary would be held on the first Tuesday in February during a presidential election year. It also changes the primaries from a party-run, in-person caucus to a government-run election.
Proponents of the change say that Nevada is more representative of the country than Iowa and New Hampshire, which are both predominantly white.
"Nevada represents a diverse constituency that presidential candidates need to talk to. It is not just for us. It is for candidates to vet their issues and communicate with the kind of communities that they're going to be asking to vote for them in the national presidential election," Jason Frierson, the Nevada speaker of the House, said.
Officials concede that other states could change their laws to hold their primary elections before Nevada.
"If another state decides that that's what they want to do, then there's nothing that we can do to stop that," Frierson said. "However, those are states that are not representative of the country the way Nevada is."
The change must be approved by both the Republican and Democratic national parties. If they do not approve and Nevada pushes forward, the state could be stripped of its delegates at the presidential nominating conventions.
Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are all considering their options to secure their status as early primary states.