The Democratic-led Assembly again today introduced legislation to move the state’s primaries from September to June. Two years ago, the Republican-led Senate balked at the idea.
Currently, New York has two primary dates—a June date for federal primaries and a September date from state races.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, said establishing the fourth Tuesday in June as New York’s primary day for both federal and state offices would save New York about $50 million.
“Moving New York’s primary date to June is a common-sense solution that not only lifts an unnecessary financial burden off of both local municipalities and taxpayers, it also ensures that more New Yorkers have a chance to participate in the Election Day process,” Silver said in a statement.
Critics have warned that the June date would fall right at the end of the legislative session, influencing the actions in Albany and hurting lawmakers’ ability to campaign.
The federal government has urged the state to move its primary date for state races to comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which requires absentee ballots to be in the hands of overseas military personnel at least 45 days before an election. The September primary and the November election makes for a tight schedule to get absentee ballots out.
New York’s primary has been held on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in September. Prior to 1974, primary elections were held in June.