Presidential Primary date set for April 28

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation setting New York’s next presidential primary for April 28, 2020 — but that won’t be the last of the state’s tinkering with primary elections.

The state Assembly passed the legislation, 142-6, with both Assemblymen Andrew Goodell, R-Jamestown, and Joe Giglio, R-Gowanda, voting in favor.

Cuomo signed the legislation despite his desire to have only one primary date in the state. On Sept. 6, speaking with Alan Chartock on WAMC, Cuomo said it makes no sense to spend money on two primaries. Under state law signed earlier this year, all of the state’s state and local primaries will be held in coordination with the congressional primary elections in June. The June date was set, Cuomo told Chartock, by a federal law change.

“We then moved the state primaries to be consistent with the congressional primaries to June 23 on the theory that we’re all about democracy and easy voting and automatic voter registration,” Cuomo told Chartock. “Why would you ever have different election dates? So we moved the state primaries to coordinate with the congressional primaries in the end of June.”

Local political parties and elected officials were thrown into a difficult situation due to the state’s primary election date change, as local primaries had been held in September. The earlier political calendar meant local political parties had to issue endorsements earlier, opportunities to ballot were held earlier and primaries were held earlier. Now, Cuomo is asking legislators to move all of the state, local and congressional primaries to April 28 to coincide with the presidential primary.

“Therefore, I am calling on the legislature to pass legislation upon convening in January in order to consolidate the presidential, state, local, and congressional primaries on April 28,” Cuomo said. “I recognize that this path may require the truncation of certain administrative phases of the political calendar, but the benefits far outweigh the political inconvenience.”

The governor told Chartock, and reiterated the thought in a news release over the weekend, that he toyed with moving the primary dates up to April for 2020 or even moving all of the primaries earlier to give New York’s voters more clout in the presidential races. Ultimately, he decided against that move because the Democratic National Committee has rules that penalize a state by reducing the number of delegates at the national convention if the state’s primary is too early.

While the state won’t move its primary date, Cuomo did tell Chartock he feels the state has been ignored during the Democratic Party presidential primary process.

“I want a robust debate and dialogue among Democratic candidates that takes into consideration New York’s issues,” Cuomo said. “I haven’t heard them say boo about SALT, the state and local taxes which emasicated this state. … If they had to come into this state and actually perform in this state and answer the questions in this state, which I think would make the entire process better, because New York’s issues are California’s issues. They are major states that have both urban and rural populations. Being irrelevant as a matter of timing is not just made the dialogue in the state reduced, I don’t think it serves the Democratic candidates as well.”


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