Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodbridge) announced Assembly introduction of legislation establishing the fourth Tuesday in June as New York’s primary election day for both federal and state offices.
The measure, A.9271-A, would tie state law to a recent federal court decision setting the primary for federal offices.
The office of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said the speaker sponsored the bill.
“It simply doesn’t make sense for local taxpayers to pay an extra $50 million to hold three primary elections and one general election in the same year,” Miller said in a statement issued by his office Tuesday evening. “We should be holding both state and federal primaries on the same day. This legislation is a smart, commonsense solution.”
If the bill passes, primaries for state Senate and Assembly seats would take place on June 26, the same as those for Congressional seats.
State office primaries currently are scheduled for Sept. 11. Some state officials have objected to moving the state primaries to June as it would force incumbents to campaign during the current legislative session, which ends on June 21.
The federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act sets forth specific requirements for federal elections to accommodate citizens serving overseas in the military and others who are living abroad. But elections for state offices are not subject to the same requirements.
The bill would eliminate the need to hold another primary in a year full of elections – including New York State’s presidential primary, already scheduled to be held April 24.
“It is only practical to hold the state primary on the same day as the federal primary, allowing for stronger and more cohesive voter participation,” Miller said.
To accommodate the move to June this year, the bill compresses the political calendar by altering deadlines for designating petition filing dates. The number of signatures required for state legislative and local offices would be reduced accordingly. These adjustments mirror those ordered by the court for federal offices.
The bill’s modified calendar would:
— Move the filing deadline for designating petitions in 2012 to April 16;
— Reduce the number of designating signatures required for an Assembly seat to 375, down from 500; and
— Require 750 designating signatures for a Senate seat, a reduction of 250 signatures.
Since the 2009 MOVE Act took effect, New York State’s primary for federal office has not been in compliance with federal law — New York’s primary date was incompatible with the strictures of the MOVE Act regarding transmission of ballots overseas. New York State was granted a waiver from MOVE Act compliance in 2010, but a similar request was denied for 2012.