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NY lawmaker proposes June state primary

    YATES COUNTY—Amy Daines, the Republican commissioner at the Yates County Board of Elections, said she is in favor of a bill introduced by N.Y. State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) on Feb. 12 to hold the 2012 state primary elections on Jun. 26. “We (the board of elections) fully support the June 26 date,” she stated. “As long as there are no other strings attached (to Silver’s bill), we are supportive of it.”
    Silver wrote the legislation with Assembly Election Law Chair Michael Cusick. If the elections are held in June, the date would comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act which requires states to hold primaries at least 80 days before a general election. The 2012 state primaries were originally set for Sept. 11, but that has been put in question due to a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice claiming the election date violates the MOVE Act.
    Along with following the MOVE Act’s guidelines, the legislation introduced by Silver would also allow for state and federal primaries to be held on the same day. U.S. District Court Judge Gary L. Sharpe recently ruled to set June 26 as the state’s primary election date for federal offices. The presidential primary in the state will be held on April 24. According to Daines, by holding two primaries during the year as opposed to three, Yates County would save $18,500.
    Last December, the Yates legislature passed a resolution requesting state and federal primaries to be held on the same date. The county made this request after the lawsuit was issued putting the Sept. 11 primary in question. Daines stated while she sees saving money as important, the biggest issue is making sure as many residents possible have the opportunity to vote. She said that along with the importance of accommodating soldiers overseas, a June primary would also result in more voter participation from those residing in the county. Daines noted that after the September primary was challenged, the state was considering moving the election to August. She said the problem with an August primary is many residents tend to go on vacation then and could risk missing out on voting. However, more people would be home in June since it is around when the school year is ending.
    Daines explained while she is “extremely hopeful” the state will listen to Yates’s request, the county still has to prepare as if there will be three primaries because planning must be done “based on what we know.” With regards to the bill introduced by Silver, she noted the county will take any assistance possible regarding the matter. “We will take all the help we can get,” Daines said. “In Yates County, we have already asked for the county legislature and towns’ support. We need all the help we can find to get this done.”




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