New York has failed to come up with an effective plan to send election ballots to military personnel overseas, the Defense Department said Wednesday in rejecting the state’s request for more time to meet absentee-ballot requirements.
The decision raises the stakes for a legal showdown between federal lawyers and the state, which last year violated a federal law requiring that ballots be mailed at least 45 days before an election.
The U.S. Justice Department has asked a federal judge in Albany to move New York’s 2012 primary from Sept. 11 to mid-August or earlier, a change that would give the state more time to distribute general election ballots to absentee voters.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has argued in court papers that the judge should wait for the state legislature to move the primary. In response, the Justice Department contends that Albany had many months to act and failed to do so, and now time is already running out.