Wednesday, June 22, 2011

And then there was New York: Last February State Rapidly Moves Bill Through Legislature

The New York presidential primary has been in the news lately in regard to some chatterabout a possible regional primary with Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island coordinated on April 24. However, there had been little movement on that front until last week, the last week of the session before the Empire state legislature adjourned for the year on June 20. On June 14, both A8363 and S5753 were introduced and by the end of the week both had passed both the Assembly and the Senate. This clears the way for New York -- assuming Governor Cuomo signs the legislation -- to join the other mid-Atlantic/northeastern states on April 24.

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There are a couple of interesting notes attendant to this legislation. First of all, nothing in the bill does anything about what will be a non-compliant fall primary in September 2012. If held, the fall primary will be a violation of the federal MOVE act. Technically, there would be time to make that change next year, but it seems like an undue burden for the legislature in an election year. Secondly, the bills above specifically cite April 24, 2012 as the date of the primary. That means that New York will have a set primary date for the 2012 cycle, but beyond that the primary date will be in limbo. The date won't, for instance, reset to the first Tuesday in February or March in 2016 as has been seen in the past from other states (see Massachusetts and Michigan from the 208 cycle). Instead the primary will be shifted for the current cycle without provision for future cycles. In other words, the issue will have to be readdressed in a subsequent legislative session.

New York becomes the final non-compliant state -- February date or earlier -- to make some effort to bring its delegate selection event within the bounds of the national parties' delegate selection rules for 2012. Every state has now acted with the exception of Arizona, and to this point, Michigan has shown no signs of moving back. Legislation in the Wolverine state proposes moving the primary up to the last Tuesday in January.

This legislation will be added to the Presidential Primary Bills Before State Legislatures section in the left sidebar.

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