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You Paid For It: Pricey Primaries
ALBANY -- The Senate Elections Committee backed a bill Monday evening to reimburse counties the cost of a second primary this year after political bickering prevented the state from settling on a single primary day. A second primary is estimated to cost up to $50 million.
Historically, the New York Primary Day was in September, but a federal court moved the congressional primary to June to accommodate military voting. The order did not apply to primaries for state senate and assembly.
Most Republicans are backing a plan to have a single primary day in August because it avoids them having to campaign while still in session. Sen. Kathy Marchione (R) Halfmoon, said she thinks the state could still comply with the order by having the August primary.
I'm here to do the people's business and it's very hard to be out campaigning. You just can't. You have to be here, said Marchione.
Most Democrats are backing a plan to have a primary day in June because it would best comply with the federal order.
Vermont tried to move it to August and it wasn't enough time to get the votes out and back from the military so I dont think August is sufficient and the federal judge who has forced us to move the date to June moved it to June because of that, said Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, (D) Duanesburg.
Democrats and Republicans opted to keep two primary dates. Tkaczyk then sponsored a bill to reimburse municipalities the cost of a second election, estimated at up to $50 million statewide.
If my bill passes the state will reimburse the county the costs. It's still coming from the taxpayers so we still need to get the two dates put on one, that's really where we reduce the costs and inefficiencies, said Tkaczyk. Until we do that, I dont think its fair to expect the counties to pay for this mandate that we clearly have the ability to fix.