Wednesday, May 04, 2011


In the last few years, there has been an uptick of concern regarding the primary process. Not about the format or petitions, but about the late date each year. Mid-September leaves little time for those who win such primaries to engage the other opponents before the general election. The concern is bi-partisan.
In a recent report by YNN, this debate was brought to the voter's attention once again. The renewed sense of urgency comes at the issue of Military ballots. The federal law pertaining to this issue requires a 45 day window before any election. More times than not, that window proves impossible to achieve for the BOE. 
As reported by YNN: Last month, the New York City Board of Elections submitted a proposal to the Governor and legislature, to move Primary day from September to the last Tuesday in June, solving one growing concern in the education community.
Party conventions occur during the first week of June so the petition process would have to be addressed, but it would also put New York in a heightened sense of influence in the National elections. I'm not advocating for a specific date during a specific month, but earlier than September appeals to me. Having worked on, and been a candidate for a primary race, I can attest how having the winner established early, for all party affiliates, settles the landscape and better educates the voters heading into the general.
Remember back in 2009 when the NYS BOE failed to ship absentee ballots to troops serving overseas in time? What a mess!
You may remember the quote from Senator Schumer at the time: "Our troops sacrifice their lives to protect our freedoms. They should never be denied the right to vote."
It was he who pushed a 2009 law establishing deadlines for mailing absentee ballots. The 45 day minimum still doesn't assure prompt delivery to and from our troops because the primary is so close to the general.
On a local note, with the next Ulster County Legislature races dealing with new single member districts, the primaries and general election will need extra attention. The public hearing, Legislative approval and petition process are just the beginning as we head into the 2011 Elections.
The Governor's office is currently reviewing the matter.
Both the Senate and Assembly hope to resolve the issue before the end of session next month. I sincerely doubt this will have any immediate effect even if it passes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Yes, move the date. To disenfranchise the very people who serve to protect our freedom to vote is just wrong.