It's a consequence of the state's lawmaker-driven redistricting process and the top court rejecting the newly drawn maps for the U.S. House of Representatives and New York state Senate: Double the voting — and double the cost for local elections officials.
With the possibility of New Yorkers casting votes in two different primary elections this summer, Republican lawmakers and elections officials are urging action and provide state funding to local elections officials for the split vote.
Schenectady County Elections Commissioner Darlene Harris said it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to hold the additional day of voting in her county alone.
"It's unprecedented, it's unforeseen and we weren't prepared. We certainly didn't tuck it into our budgets," Harris said. "So this cost will be passed along to the taxpayers."
With the district maps being redrawn by an independent expert, the House and state Senate primaries are being pushed to Aug. 23 by a state Supreme Court in Steuben County. The state Assembly and statewide races were unaffected by the ruling, and remain scheduled for June 28.
State Sen. James Tedisco and Assemblyman John Salka are proposing legislation that would state boost funding on the local level to pay for the votes. He blames Democratic lawmakers for drawing the initial maps that failed to pass constitutional muster.
"They had a $220 billion spending plan," Tedisco said. "Billions from the federal government. You broke it, you fix it, you pay for it."
The House maps were found to have been an unconstitutional gerrymander; state Senate districts were rejected on a process argument. The Democratic lawmakers who control both chambers of the Legislature earlier this year took control of the redistricting process after a commission, created by a voter-approved constitutional amendment, failed to reach an agreement on new lines.
Elections officials like Saratoga County's Roger Schiera worry the logistics of holding two primary votes on short notice will be a logistical challenge to find workers.
"We face problems with fatigue for election workers because there's going to be the extra election and turning out the extra people we need to do," he said. "It's over 700, more like 800 support people for a full election."
Consolidating the primaries, set to include statewide races for the governor and lieutenant governor nominatons, are unlikley at this point. Gov. Hochul said she's opposed to the idea.
"It's still a little fluid because there's always legal challenges, but the path right now is to stay with June 28 for the statewide primaries," she said.
Statewide, a full primary can cost up to $30 million to administer.