Federal judge sustains Aug. 23 New York primary for state Senate, U.S. House

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A federal judge in Albany in an order on Tuesday affirmed the decision by a state-level judge in New York to move the party primaries for the state Senate and U.S. House of Representatives to Aug. 23 after the lines drawn for both chambers by state lawmakers were ruled unconstitutional.

The order from U.S. District Court Judge Gary Sharpe rebuffs a Democratic-backed legal challenge in federal court which had sought to use the congressional maps drawn by New York lawmakers earlier this year. Those maps were found to be in violation of the state’s constitutional ban on partisan redistricting.

Democrats had argued that moving the primary to August would put the state in violation of a federal law that requires timely access for military and overseas ballots. But Sharpe’s order turned that concern aside.

“The later primary will accommodate the preparation of new Congressional maps and still provide ample time for compliance with” the law, he wrote in the order.

New York is likely to face two different primaries as maps are being redrawn for the U.S. House districts and state Senate. State Assembly districts were unaffected by the Court of Appeals’ ruling, though are now facing two legal challenges. The statewide primaries for governor and lieutenant governor were also not affected.

Lawmakers have called for additional funding for local elections officials to administer two primaries this summer. Statewide primaries can cost up to $30 million to hold.

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