Monday, January 9, 2023

New York Bill Would Consolidate Primaries in June

The adjournment of one legislative session had only just killed the last effort to consolidate primaries in New York before two Democratic legislators, Sen. James Skoufis (D-42nd) and Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-47th), revived it during the January 4 opening of the 2023 legislative session in the Empire state. 

SB 437 would move the presidential primary in line with the primaries for statewide and other offices on the fourth Tuesday in June. Such a change offers clear budgetary benefits. It would mean one less primary to fund and implement. However, such a move would disrupt the regular rhythms of the date-setting process for the New York presidential primary that have developed over the last several cycles while also making the national convention delegations from the state vulnerable to national party sanctions. 

For every cycle following 2008, the New York legislature has in the late spring or early summer of the year prior to the presidential election consulted with both major parties in the state and codified both a presidential primary date and delegate selection rules into law. That law then sunsets at the conclusion of the presidential election year, and the primary reverts to its February position, restarting the entire process for the next cycle.

This bill from Skoufis and Hoylman is not that maneuver. It is a repeat bill that would schedule the presidential primary too late under the rules of both major national parties, costing each delegation some fraction of their total.1 The goal may be to streamline the primary process and put less of a burden on both New York voters and election administrators, but it is unworkable without moving the date on which both sets of contests are consolidated to some earlier point on the calendar. 

A link to this legislation has been added to the 2024 FHQ presidential primary calendar.

1 This would have been a problematic position for the New York presidential primary even without the change to the back end of the window in Republican timing rules for the 2024 cycle. 


No comments: