The primary in New York this year, in which statewide officials such as Gov. Andrew Cuomo face voters, is currently scheduled for the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and elected officials are pledging to have it changed.
Todd Kaminsky of Long Island in the Senate and Bobby Carroll of Midwood in the Assembly — both Democrats — have introduced bills to change the Sept. 11 primary to a rare Thursday election. Both bills also mentioned a conflict with Sept. 11, a presidentially declared national day of remembrance.
Postponing the primary by two days would move it to the day after Tzom Gedaliah.
The unusual schedule was discovered about two weeks ago. Elected officials including New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James then called on the state legislature to reschedule it.
“New Yorkers should never have to choose between voting and observing their faith,” Stringer said in a statement. James added that “asking New Yorkers to choose between observing their faith and exercising this basic civil right is fundamentally undemocratic.”
The bill is currently on the calendar of two Senate committees for consideration — the Elections and Rules panels. In the Assembly, it has already passed all committees and is scheduled for a floor vote. Observers expect the bill to pass both chambers and be signed into law by Gov. Cuomo.
The primary election is constitutionally required to be held on the first Tuesday after the second Monday in September before every general election. Changing it requires an act of the legislature.
A date change would not be without precedent. In September 2007, the legislature changed the date of the primary. Already this year, states such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island have moved their primaries due to the conflict with Rosh Hashanah.