Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins urged on Wednesday the passage of a bill that would consolidate the state and federal primaries into one date.
New York’s primaries have been split since 2012, after a federal judge ruled the state’s September primary did not comply with the MOVE Act, which governs timely access for absentee ballots to military and overseas voters.
The Democratic-led Assembly on Tuesday approved a bill that would combine the June congressional primary with the state and local primaries scheduled for September.
Republicans have preferred putting the primary date in August, citing winters in upstate New York making it harder to collect petitions in March. At the same time, the petitioning would take place at the height of the budget negotiations in Albany.
“Merging primary dates is a common sense way to increase participation in the electoral process and save New York taxpayers millions of dollars,” Stewart-Cousins said in a statement. “I applaud my colleagues in the State Assembly, especially bill sponsor Michael Cusick, for passing this common sense legislation. Now is the time for the Senate Republican Majority to follow the Assembly’s lead and finally end this unfunded mandate.”
This year there will be three primary contests, given the presidential contest scheduled for April 19.
Supporters of merging the primary date with June say it would save $50 million by having one election for party contests in a single date over a two-year campaign cycle.