Friday, June 26, 2015

Local Officials Object to Prospect of New York Losing Bonus Delegates Due to April 19 Presidential Primary

John Spina and Jennifer Fermino have the story at The New York Daily News:
Some irate local officials are warning New York will lose dozens of delegates to the 2016 Democratic convention following a successful push by former Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to move the party’s primary from Passover week.

Moving the primary from April 26 to April 19 would deprive New York of bonus delegates, which the Democratic National Committee doles out to states that cluster their primaries on one day.
FHQ addressed the potential loss of bonus delegates in our post covering the Assembly passage of the April 19 presidential primary bill earlier this week. This is a classic example of political trade-offs. On the one hand, New York Democrats would have received a double bonus for holding an April 26 primary; a 10% bump for an April primary and a 15% boost for clustering with up to five other neighboring (or contiguous) states. The price of that bonus -- due to the scheduling on April 26 -- was the Passover holiday conflict. Jewish voters would have been forced to vote during the holiday, vote absentee or not vote at all.

But with the presidential primary a Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) signature away from an April 19 date, the Passover conflict is averted, but the 15% clustering bonus is gone. No cluster, no bonus.

Former Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver (D), who pushed for the earlier date is, according to Spina and Fermino, "trying to convince the DNC to still award New York the bonus delegates." Unless Connecticut and Rhode Island bring up legislation in special sessions, that is probably unlikely. The DNC has no rules-based discretion to award bonus delegates to states that do not meet the criteria. [The focus is on the two New England states because the Pennsylvania legislature is currently considering whether to move its April 26 primary to March 15. If that move occurs, New York would be dependent on its two eastern neighbors to achieve the clustering bonus anyway.]

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