UPDATE: What You Need to Know About NY’s Primary Election Changes
UPDATE: 5/11/2022 - A federal judge has given New York legislators the go ahead on a split primary while redistricting continues.
The first primary, for Governor & Lt. Governor, State Assembly, and State Judiciary, will go on on the previously set date of June 28, while the second, for US House of Representatives and State Senate, will be held on August 23. Moving all primary votes to August was hardly considered, with many politicians opposing any consolidation, including Gov. Kathy Hochul.
Local leaders are now feeling the strain of procuring hundreds more poll workers in the fall combined with the massive price tag. Statewide primaries can run around $30 million, with local counties now looking at tens of thousands in additional and unexpected cost - an expense that will likely end up on the taxpayers.
An outside expert is still redrawing the State Senate and US House of Representatives districts.
4/29/22: New York’s primary election date is in jeopardy as the State Court of Appeals overturns new redistricting maps drawn by a legislative committee. On Wednesday, new maps for the US House of Representatives and state Senate districts drawn up by Democratic lawmakers were declared unconstitutional gerrymandering.
After each Census, districts are redrawn to reflect population data and demographics as fairly as possible. The State Court of Appeals, in agreement with lower-level court rulings, found evident bias in the way these specific maps were drawn.
After ruling in favor of state Republicans and government watchdog groups, a lower-level court had previously given State Legislature until the end of April to draw new district maps or the court would appoint Geographic Information Systems specialist Jonathan Cervas to do it for them.
With the low odds of redistricting being completed in time to not affect June primaries, these are now the two most likely options:
A split primary, where State Senate and congressional primaries are moved to a new date, while the Governor’s race and state judicial and Assembly races remain on Tuesday, June 28
The entire primary may be shifted to a yet-to-be-selected date in August.
The most important things to be aware of heading into either of these situations:
Pay close attention to which district you live in: once lines are redrawn and approved, candidates campaigning in your area may no longer be the ones you’re voting over by Primary Day. You may also be assigned a different polling place than you’ve used in past elections.
If you or someone in your family votes via Absentee Ballot: they may need to monitor the NY State Board of Elections. With Absentee Ballots due to be sent out in May, this would affect the timeline for printing and mailing.
Early voting dates may shift: as early voting is scheduled to start June 18, this would change in the event of a total primary reschedule or could lead to a second date if a split primary occurs.
New maps should be finalized by Tuesday, May 24.