Brooklyn, NY – Councilman David G. Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) has sent a letter to the Honorable Gary L. Sharpe, United States District Court Judge for the Northern District of New York, to express his support for a June primary election day and opposition to a primary election day in July or August. Due to new legislation, the date of all future primaries in New York State must be moved from September. The current possibilities are any given Tuesday in June, July or August.
In order to meet the federal Military and Overseas Voters Empowerment Act, which requires states to send absentee ballots to military and other overseas voters at least 45 days before the general election, New York State needs to move its primary day up from September. To ensure this change is made in time for the 2012 elections, the federal government is suing New York State and the New York State Board of Elections. The case will be decided by Judge Sharpe.
One option being considered is a July or August primary date. Since many of the Orthodox Jewish residents in Brooklyn leave the city during summer months, a July or August primary would make it extremely difficult for them to exercise their right to vote. As a result, Councilman Greenfield believes a June primary election date would be fairest for all constituencies.
“Although Congress has taken important steps to end the disenfranchisement of our service men and women in fall primaries, I believe that scheduling the New York State primary in the months of July and August would only serve to disenfranchise a different group of voters,” Councilman Greenfield wrote. “About half of the voters in my district will typically leave the city during those months, and families based outside of New York City for the summer will find it very difficult to return for a July or August primary… A June primary will not only meet the goal of guaranteeing the opportunity to vote for our men and women in the armed forces, it will also ensure that my constituents in Brooklyn will have a fair chance to participate as well.”
Judge Sharpe, who is overseeing the federal lawsuit against the State and Board of Elections, is expected to issue his ruling by the end of the week.
(YWN Desk – NYC)