The problem we're seeing is that by front-loading all these primaries into early February (22 states, nearly half of the delegates will be selected on February 5th) the candidates don't have time to campaign in all those states and the voters are short-changed out of meeting prospective nominees.
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) has put together a plan of rotating regional primaries. Here is how they envision it working, from the NASS.org website:
Under the NASS plan, party primaries/caucuses would be grouped by region beginning in 2012.This system will allow each region to be spotlighted during each of the months, so candidates may make more effective use of their time and give voters in each region an opportunity to see them and make a more knowledgeable choice.
* A lottery would be held to determine which region would begin the sequence the first year of the plan. The next presidential election year, the region that held the first position would move to the end of the sequence, and the other regions would move forward.
* Iowa and New Hampshire would retain their leading positions in the presidential selection process based upon their tradition of encouraging retail politics.
* Primaries/caucuses in each state of a given region would be scheduled on or soon after the first Tuesday in March, April, May or June of presidential election years.
Regional Groupings Under the NASS Plan
East: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
South: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
West: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Guam.
It will also give lesser known candidates a chance to build their support and give each region more choices. And the rotating regions will keep any one area of the nation from dominating the entire process. For instance, a West region candidate such as a California senator might not do so well in the Southern region, but knowing that the West region's primaries are coming up may help keep that candidate in the race longer than under the present arrangement.
It's not a perfect system, but compared to what currently exists it's significantly better. Ultimately, the voters will benefit by having more choices.