Assemblywoman Russell urging North Country lawmakers to support legislation to move state primary to June
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 5:34 pm

New York's primary election date could be moved to June, if a bill passed in the Assembly is able to clear the Senate.

Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell is urging St. Lawrence County legislators and other North Country county lawmakers to support the legislation as it moves to the senate.

“Holding multiple primaries is an unfunded mandate for localities across the state that is not only unnecessary, but harmful to the institution of voting,” Russell said. “This is a situation in which county governments should get involved and let the legislature know that they support this common sense solution.”

The bill A.8198 consolidates the election calendar so that state and federal primaries are held on the same day – the fourth Tuesday in June.

Russell says holding a single June primary day would encourage voter participation, save taxpayers almost $50 million and ensure that military personnel have ample time to participate in our elections.

In 2009, the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act was passed, requiring that absentee ballots be in the hands of overseas military personnel 45 days prior to a general election, Russell says.

Currently, New York’s September state primary election day is not in compliance with this law because it falls too close to the deadline for transmitting military and overseas absentee ballots.

New York State was granted a waiver from the MOVE Act in 2010, however, a similar request was denied in 2012 and a federal court imposed a June primary date in New York for federal offices. The Assembly’s bill would bring primaries for statewide office in line with the act.

“While it’s unacceptable for voting to be made more difficult than it needs to be, it’s unconscionable to hamper our troop’s ability to participate in the very democracy they defend,” Assemblywoman Russell said. “This bill protects our troop’s ability to vote and saves county governments money that they can put to better use maintaining infrastructure and ensuring public safety.”