From Capitol Confidential:
In symmetry with Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has introduced a bill that would move the state primary from early September to late June, currently the court-ordered home of the primary for Congressional races.
In a statement, Stewart-Cousins calls the move “a common sense and good government approach to save our local taxpayers at least $50 million and will help increase voter turnout, giving more people a voice in the electoral process.”
The June timetable is opposed by Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, who believes it would complicate the end of the legislative session.
This bill is carried by Silver in the Assembly.
The current June federal primary is required by the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act, which sets early deadlines for absentee ballots to accommodate service members overseas and other Americans living abroad.
Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk said sticking with the September state primary “will deprive military members serving overseas of one of our most fundamental rights — the right to have their vote counted.”
Update: Eric Soufer, spokesman for Independent Democratic Conference Leader Jeff Klein, says the lawmaker concurs with his chamber co-leader: “Sen. Klein does not believe we should hold a primary during the busiest and one of the most important stretches of the legislative session.”
UpdateX2: In a statement, Silver says he’ll take up the Assembly version of the bill toute de suite after session convenes:
Moving the state primary day to June to coincide with the federal primary day is a practical solution. Combining the two elections will encourage voter turnout. It will eliminate the administrative burden on local governments across the state and save taxpayers nearly $50 million annually.
It is imperative that the June primary is finalized quickly, and we intend to take up this legislation (A.8198) early in the 2014 session. We look forward to working with our partners in government to do the same, providing municipalities sufficient time to implement this common sense, cost-saving measure.