It’s hard enough attracting voters to primaries, except in “big” votes like presidential elections. And when there’s two primaries in the same year, forget about it, not to mention the increased costs to the state! That’s the situation New York state is in. Primaries for federal offices take place in June, but primaries for local offices and state offices take place in September. It’s been this way since 2010, when a court decided that under the terms of a new federal law, the September primary didn’t give enough time for military absentee ballots to be processed. Now, state Assembly and Senate Democrats, backed by good-government groups, have instituted a bill for a joint primary in June. However, the bill is being stalled at the state Senate level by the Republican majority, which prefers a combined August primary.
Democrats say an August primary would result in a low turnout, since many people are on vacation. Republicans oppose a June primary because the Legislature is still in session in June, and state candidates couldn’t give their all to political campaigns.
Now, a City Council member, Ben Kallos (D-Upper East Side), has introduced a resolution calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign into law bill A-8198, the Democratic Assembly bill, and for the Senate to pass and the governor to sign S-6204, the corresponding state Senate bill.