Third Primary This Year Could Cost WNY Extra One Million Dollars

10:41 AM, Mar 12, 2012   |    comments
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Buffalo, N.Y. - This year, primary elections in New York could be very expensive for taxpayers in Western New York and all across the state.

The state's presidential primary is coming up on April 24th - no one has a problem with that, but it's the two more primaries after that that are causing a lot of controversy.

A judge has set the primary day for congressional elections for June 26th, that to ensure that military members overseas can vote in both the primary and general elections.

Meanwhile, the state has set September 11th as the primary day set for assembly and senate elections.

This week, a number of good government groups and county elections commissioners of both parties, including Erie County's Dennis Ward, called for the congressional and state primary election days to be merged to the June 26th date in order to save money.

Merging the two elections would save lots of money when it comes to printing ballots, hiring elections inspectors and renting voting locations.

If the two primaries are not merged?

Scott Brown: "What do you estimate this will cost for the eight counties of Western New York?"

Democratic Elections Commissioner Dennis Ward: "I think it would most likely be close to a million dollars."

That's right, he said close to one million dollars in additional costs to taxpayers.

Democrats in the Assembly and the governor are in favor of merging the two primaries to the June 26th date.

But Republicans say June is not good because they say the legislature could still be in session then.

State Republican Chairman Ed Cox: "August just makes sense from a Republican point of view."

Scott Brown: "The League Of Women Voters, virtually all of the county election commissioners in the state say do it in June, why not do it in June?"

Ed Cox: "I think to mix a legislative session when you're still working through major issues, you want to have a good campaign prior to it and you can't have a good campaign while the legislature's in session."

But the League of Women voters isn't buying that explanation.

Barbara Bartoletti, League Of Women Voters: "Our fear of an August primary is that it will coincide with most people's end of summer vacations and you will get this abysmal turnout of voters and that of course speaks well for incumbents, because we know in primaries it's usually the core of the party that comes out and votes."

Scott Brown: "Would you say this is just Albany politics as usual?"

Barbara Bartoletti: "Oh this is definitely Albany politics as usual."

If the state's September primary goes on as scheduled, it would prevent military personnel from overseas from having enough time to vote in the presidential election, meaning they would not be able to vote for their choice as commander in chief.






















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