Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Yesterday the Department of Defense denied the state's request for a waiver from the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act. The Act says that oversees voters must have enough time to vote in the primary elections in their states, which has meant New York's September primary is too close to the actual Election Day to satisfy the 45-day requirement for ballots to be sent out.
This new development will certainly be discussed at tomorrow's LATFOR meeting in Albany. A Federal judge will now likely rule early next month on when, exactly, the new primary date should be to comply with the military voting act. Republicans are arguing for August. Democrats want to see the primary in June.
As I've written earlier, the dates matter:
f the judge picks an earlier date, it makes things very difficult for Republicans. A June primary means districts need to be in place by the end of February. This means the lines will have to be introduced and voted on sooner rather than later.
Republicans hope for an August date, the thinking goes, because it means they’ll have more time to push the redistricting vote into budget negotiations. If they can do that, they might be able to use redistricting as leverage and force the Governor to abandon his veto threat in favor of a smooth budget process.
This is just one issue facing the committee tomorrow. The other big issue is prisoner reapportionment. There are rumors the Senate Republicans are going to say they can't completely agree with their Democratic counterparts in the Assembly on how to count prisoners. This wouldn't be surprising. It will buy the Republicans more time, as they want the judge in their case to overturn the law to make a decision before they commit to a process.
That being said, don't let the actions of LATFOR fool you. They're going through the motions. On both sides, maps have been drawn. It's just a matter of timing--when, and which maps to reveal.