Tonawanda News

Columns

February 19, 2014

CONFER: Move New York's primaries to June

Tonawanda News — In 2009, the federal government passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which mandated that the states have federal absentee ballots in the hands of overseas military personnel at least 45 days before an election, to ensure that their completed ballots could be received by local boards of elections in a timely fashion. This is meant to guarantee that the warriors’ voices are heard while they are off protecting those same rights for others. 

The MOVE Act has had an impact on primary elections nationwide, because states that had theirs in the fall – like New York with its second-Tuesday-after-Labor-Day date – could not meet federal standards. Once the outcomes of the primaries were known, the official regular election ballots would physically have to be in the hands of military personnel by the third week of September. Impossible.

In 2010, since state officials couldn’t get their act together to accommodate this rather simple and well-intentioned law, New York, along with four other states, was granted a waiver by the Department of Defense and held its federal primaries in September.

The feds weren’t so kind in 2012, when a federal judge stepped in and mandated a June federal primary in the Empire State. Because of the legislative impasse that led to that, New York voters participated in two primaries, one in June for federal elections and another in September for local and state elections. The exhausted voters then had to vote for the real deal in November.

Five years after the passage of the MOVE Act, we seem to be no further ahead. Because of the intent of the law (to allow access to the polls to our servicemen and women) and the cost (the bill for the extra primary was $50 million to New York taxpayers), Democratic leaders in the Assembly passed a bill earlier this year that would create a harmonized primary date, whereby state and local primaries would be held on the same June date as the federal primaries – the fourth Tuesday in June. That’s a logical premise, philosophically and fiscally sound.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Canal Fest, here we come This column should be titled "Roads and Streets." First of all, Meadow Drive is finally open. Although it took very long to be completed, it's beautiful. Riding by the other day brought into focus how many people will use this to cut across town. One less thing for residents to complain about.

    July 12, 2014

  • ADAMCZYK: Homesick for someplace I've never been You stumble over things that make you wonder. I do, at least, and the latest is one of those advertising artifacts from yesteryear that encourage me to ponder what's changed and what never will.

    July 11, 2014

  • WALLACE: Playing politics as usual The immigration crisis is just the most recent example of how dysfunctional Washington, D.C. is right now.

    July 10, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg A stunning scandal in Mississippi-voting|DUVALL: A stunning scandal in Mississippi We don't tend to talk a whole lot about Mississippi on this paper's editorial page and for good reason. It's a long way away in both distance and temperament. But I swear this will be worth it.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Employers don't need 24/7 access to workers

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Taste of Buffalo sneaks up again This time next week you can find me tromping somewhere up and down Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. I'll be there with tens of thousands of my closest friends.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo