WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senators Joseph Lieberman, I-Connecticut, Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota unveiled a bill Tuesday that would radically overhaul the presidential nomination process. The proposed tri-partisan bill, which would take effect in the 2012 presidential race, seeks to solve the issue of so-called primary “front-loading.”
The proposal would spread out primaries by dividing the nation into four regions — West, Midwest, South, and East — with a rotating lottery system determining the order of primaries for each region. The first primary would fall on March 1, 2012 for the first region, followed by one region each month until the season is complete after the final region’s primary on June 1.
Iowa and New Hampshire would retain their privileged “first-in-the-nation” status through a special exemption allowing them to start the delegate selection process before March 1.
“Primaries were not intended to be an arms race,” said Klobuchar. “This schedule gives power and influence back to the voters in every state.”
“The guiding principle of our democracy is that every citizen has the opportunity to choose his or her political leaders,” said Lieberman. “But the sad truth is this principle no longer bears a resemblance to the reality of an increasingly compressed and arbitrary presidential primary system.”
Lieberman added that many voters feel the 2008 presidential race started too early and is already too long.
Currently, a large number of states have scheduled their primaries for the first Tuesday of February 2008, or what some are now calling “Super Duper Tuesday.”
In addition to the proposed regional primary, Sen. Alexander announced his intention to push for an increase in the amount an individual can donate to a presidential campaign from the current $2,300 to $10,000.
-From CNN's Kevin Mayer and Xuan Thai