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The Empire

Assembly to introduce bill to move state primary to June 26

Speaker Sheldon Silver's office announced the Assembly majority will bring up a bill, sponsored by the Speaker and co-sponsored by Assembly Election Law Chair Michael Cusick of Staten Island, to move the state's legislative primary date to June 26. The change would make the state's legislative primaries the same day as the congressional primaries--something resisted by State Senate Republicans.

"There is no good reason why our local governments should be asked to spend an extra $50 million to hold three primary elections in one year," Silver said in a statement. "This is a common sense solution that will promote voter participation and allow the state to comply with the MOVE Act without costing taxpayers any additional money."

Senate Republicans aren't keen on the date change.

"We have serious concerns that a June primary would disrupt the critical final three months of the legislative session, including the budget process and other important end of session bills," said Majority Leader Dean Skelos' spokesman Scott Reif. "While we should be focused on governing, the Democrats in the Assembly and Senate will be busy campaigning--gathering petition signatures, seeking union endorsements and raising money. That's a recipe for dysfunction."

The Senate Republicans hold all the cards in this situation. Without legislative action, the state primary will remain on September 11. That will mean voters in New York could be asked to go to the polls up to four times this year: the first for the Presidential primary on April 24, then for the US Senate and House of Representatives primary on June 26, again for the state legislative primary in September, and finally for the general election in November.