California has moved its presidential primary to June, consolidating trips to the poll to save money in an election that most voters in the Democratic leaning state see as a foregone conclusion.
Governor Jerry Brown signed the move into law on Friday.
The state for years tried to raise its profile in the national presidential race, but its efforts have been diluted as other states have made similar moves.
California spent nearly $100 million for its presidential primary on February 5, 2008, when 24 states, nearly half the nation, held nominating contests in a battle known as "Super Tuesday".
The results of the 2012 Democratic primary are preordained with President Barack Obama seeking a second term, said San Jose State University political scientist Larry Gerston.
"Most people in the state won't have much motivation" to vote, and state government doesn't need an extra bill, he said. Other states are also changing their primary plans, leaving California's influence on the Republican nomination unclear, he added. "It's just too early to say."
The new California law requires presidential primaries to be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in June, which would put the primary on June 5, 2012. Statewide primaries must be held on the same day.