Board of Elections adjusting congressional primary plans

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester area election leaders are hoping for some breaks to smooth over the fact that they will have to have two primaries this election year.

A federal judge has now ordered the state to change the date for its congressional primary so its congressional districts can be redrawn.

The court has already rejected the plan for congressional districts drawn up by Democrats as excessively partisan, in violation of the state constitution and ordered that the district lines be redrawn by an independent expert.

This latest ruling upholds that demand and requires congressional elections be delayed to let that happen.

That means the congressional primaries won’t happen until Aug. 23. The rest of the primaries will still be on June 28.

The Monroe County Democratic Party is still evaluating how many areas this will affect and hoping it will only be a few towns in the 24th Congressional District, but not in the 25th District because no Democrats are challenging Rep. Joe Morelle.

Although it may yet also affect the State Senate elections which could have a much wider impact.

Democratic Election Commissioner Jackie Ortiz said the confusion will require more effort to get voters out to the polls.

"Primaries are already difficult and the fact that they traditionally have lower turnout. Especially in a non-presidential year. So, we are already dealing with a challenging situation for tonight. We are going to do our very best to get the word out. But, it definitely increases the possibility of even lower turnout with the confusion of having the two primaries. And the fact of the new primary smack dab in the middle of summer vacation."

In addition to the "off-year" election, New York is a closed primary state that does not allow same-day voter registration. That means voters must be registered with the political party whose primary they want to vote in before the day of the election in order to participate.

First-time voters must send their application in no later than June 3 and it must get to the board of elections no later than June 8 to be eligible to vote in the primary. The in-person voter registration deadline is June 3.

Voters who have moved since the last time they voted must file their change of address notice by June 8 and it must be processed and entered in the records in time for the primary.

Registered voters who want to enroll in a party or change their party enrollment would have had to do so back in February in order to be able to vote in that primary. Voters who are not enrolled in a party cannot vote in the primary election.

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The Monroe County Democrats normally need about 2,500 election inspectors for the primary on June 28.

They’re looking to fill those positions and hoping they’ll need a lot fewer of them for the second primary round on Aug. 23.