February 2, 2016

Assembly Approves Bill to Combine New York State Primary
With Federal Primary on June 28, 2016
Legislation Conforms State Law with Federal MOVE Act, Saves
Local Governments Millions and Encourages Greater Voter Turnout

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Election Law Chair Michael Cusick today announced the passage of legislation to combine New York State's primary with the federal primary on June 28, 2016 in order to bring the state into compliance with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which ensures military and overseas voters are able to participate in the electoral process.

"Scheduling the state's primary on the same day as the federal primary means there will be one fewer primary election to pay for, saving local governments approximately $25 million," said Speaker Heastie. "Without this change, voters will be asked to report to the polls four times in 2016. This measure will better accommodate military absentee and overseas voters, spare local government taxpayers from incurring an unnecessary primary expense and increase voter participation with one less primary. I urge the Senate to pass the bill."

"Combining the federal and state primary election date makes a whole lot of sense," said Assemblyman Cusick. "This year voters will be asked to vote in three primaries, plus the general election, which could discourage and drive down voter turnout and undermine the important role elections play in our participatory form of government. Holding the state and local primaries on June 28, 2016, the same day as the federal primary, is the most appropriate solution."

This bill (A.9108) will establish the state's primary election date for state and federal offices on June 28, 2016, saving local taxpayers an estimated $25 million. To accommodate the earlier state primary date, the measure also will set April 4, through April 7, of 2016 as the filing period for designating petitions.

The current 2016 state election calendar includes four elections, beginning with New York State's Presidential Primary on April 19, followed by the federal primary on June 28, the state and local primaries on September 13, and the general election on November 8.

The MOVE Act of 2009 requires absentee ballots for federal elections to be transmitted 45 days before a primary or general election to ensure there is enough time for the absentee ballots of military and overseas voters to be counted.

Heastie and Cusick noted that in recent years New York's state primary has been held on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in September, and before 1974, primary elections were held in June.