It is up to Secretary of State William Galvin to pick a date to hold Massachusetts’ 2018 state primary election and his request for public input hasn’t pointed to an obvious answer. The date of the state primary is usually settled without much discussion or public attention, but this year Galvin is required by law to move the primary to an earlier date in September due to a conflict with a Jewish religious holiday. The target date for the primary – 49 days before Election Day – is Tuesday, Sept. 18, but that date marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. One week earlier, Tuesday, Sept. 11, conflicts with the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah. State law requires Galvin to schedule the primary within seven days of the second Tuesday of September, this year Sept. 11, leaving the secretary a window from Sept. 4 until Sept. 18 to hold the election.
Josh Zakim, a Boston city councilor who is challenging Galvin for the Democratic nomination to be secretary of state, said the secretary should take advantage of the scheduling conflict and plan to hold the statewide election on a weekend day.
“It’s an important opportunity to explore something new around a way to increase turnout and voter participation,” Zakim said. “The weekend of September 15 or 16 would make a lot of sense, and it’s something voting rights activists and civil right activists have long talked about to make it easier for people to vote.”