The second Tuesday in September has been primary day in New York State for non-federal offices. It’s not today because it’s September 11, 9/11. It’ll be held Thursday, September 13 instead.
September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday so it was primary day. Unsurprising, the voting, which had already begun at 6 a.m. in New York City and a few other counties, was postponed to September 25, notably with seven new polling places.
I understand it, I really do. September 11 is for not forgetting. But what better way to to remember than to stick up a proverbial middle finger at terrorism by casting the ballot that the planes hitting the World Trade Center interrupted? This is, BTW, the third time the vote has been on the 13th, also in 2007 and in 2012.
Truth be told, I think a September primary is too late. In races with an unchallenged incumbent, a late primary is a disadvantage to anyone running in a primary, who will have only eight weeks to consolidate the fractured segments of the party and run against a usually entrenched and better financed opponent.
The federal primary in New York State is at the end of June, so those running for Congress, House and Senate, compete then. I think ALL the primaries should be held at that time. It would also create a savings for the local Boards of Election, who wouldn’t need to find people to staff the voting booths in both June AND September.
Finally, here’s my my annual complaint. People in New York City, Long Island, some NYC suburbs, and Erie County (Buffalo) can vote from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. But those in the rest of the state, it’s only noon until 9 p.m., quite possibly the shortest primary slot in the country.
There are several statewide races this year, including Governor/Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General. Why should the folks downstate have six more hours, 15 instead of nine, to vote? I’d favor some way to even things out, such as 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. everywhere in New York State.