2014-06-20 / Editorial/Opinion

Early Primary Contrary To Purpose

About a month ago, a call came into The Wave, the caller asking what primary was being held on June 24, who was running and where could they get any more information. It didn’t take long to figure out exactly what the caller was looking for, but should the voters need a news staff to track down candidates running for a local election?

What is the purpose of holding a Federal Primary in June and a State /Local Primary in September? Does it increase awareness of the issues, or get more people out to vote?

As one candidate pointed out, why should taxpayers have to pay for two elections when they could have all the primaries on one date?

The purpose, we’re told, is so that overseas ballots can be sent 45 days prior to Election Day to ensure that the military, their families and other U.S. citizens living abroad would have their votes counted. That’s certainly a good, sound reason to argue for an earlier date. But is it the best thing for everyone?

Two years ago, when the first June primary was held for the 5th Congressional District, only 12,853 people voted. In the November general election, won by Rep. Gregory Meeks, 224,508 people cast their ballots. Maybe, just maybe, that increased vote total had just a little to do with awareness?

When Congress decided to pass the law to validate the overseas ballots for Federal election purpose, an argument could be made that the law itself all but invalidates the much greater number of voters living here.

A Democratic primary that no one attends isn’t really a primary, it’s a farce, and with all of the issues facing the people of Rockaway, a disgrace.

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