New York State, which will struggle with a deficit projected to be more than $3 billion in 2012, is facing the ridiculous and costly possibility of holding three primaries next year instead of the usual two in presidential election years.
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This particular lunacy is possible because state lawmakers have failed to comply with a 2009 federal law that requires military personnel overseas to get ballots 45 days before a federal election. New York officials got the Defense Department to give them a one-time exemption from the law to hold Congressional primaries, along with state legislative primaries, in September 2010.
Last week, to almost no one’s surprise, the Pentagon refused to grant another exemption. That means that New York will have to hold next year’s Congressional primaries earlier in the year. A federal judge is now expected to rule soon on a new primary date, unless lawmakers act first. If Albany lawmakers continue to resist moving the state legislative primaries, they will be forcing New York to hold three primaries. The first would be a presidential primary on April 24, which is set in state law. Then there would be the Congressional primaries most likely in the summer, followed by the state elections on Sept. 11.
With each primary costing up to $50 million statewide, the sensible option is to hold both the Congressional and legislative primaries in June. A June primary would also put renewed pressure on legislators and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to quickly adopt new and independently drawn Congressional and legislative districts.
Some Republicans have argued for an August primary, but that is a flawed idea because the vacation season could discourage people from voting. New York’s lawmakers should have set a reasonable primary date before the 2010 election as required by federal law. Voters should not be forced to foot the bill for an extra state primary because of the Legislature’s continued intransigence.
Full Article: How Many Primaries in New York Next Year? – NYTimes.com.