California Primary Moved Back to June

California has conceded defeat in its quest for more clout in picking presidential nominees and is returning to its traditional June primary election for all statewide races.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) signed legislation Monday that will move the primary back to June, ending the eight-year experiment with a March primary.

The Republican governor also signed a bill that will bar the use of electronic voting machines that don't produce paper trails to verify votes.

Both measures take effect in 2006.

California held primaries in June from 1946 until 1996, when it moved the election to the last Tuesday in March in hopes of giving its voters a bigger say in determining who wins the White House.

The nominations were usually locked up by the time the June election was held, supporters of the move said.

After Bill Clinton and Bob Dole locked up the Democratic and Republican nominations in 1996 before Californians voted, the state moved its primary even earlier — to the first Tuesday in March.

Other states had the same idea and by the time California held its primary this year, 20 states had already awarded delegates, and nine states had scheduled primaries or caucuses on the same day as California. John Kerry had a virtual lock on the Democratic nomination going into the California primary, and George Bush had no significant GOP opposition.