Legislature Adjourns

FILE- In this June 21, 2017 file photo, New York state senators work In the Senate chamber at the state Capitol during the last day of the legislative session. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink, File)

Hans Pennink

The state Senate has followed the Assembly by passing legislation to move the date for the 2018 state and local primary election. 

The legislation moving the date of the primary from Tuesday, Sept. 11 to Thursday, Sept. 13 passed by a 58-0 vote Tuesday. The bill is sponsored by state Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with Republicans. 

Lawmakers wanted to change the primary date because it was scheduled for the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and falls on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. 

"We live in a great democracy where the right to vote is a privilege we don't take lightly," Felder said. "Today, we have done our part to guarantee all voters their right to vote. New Yorkers, who would find it impossible, or difficult to do both, will be able to observe the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, or the solemn day of 9/11, without concern." 

The legislation was supported by state Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Island Democrat. He was the first senator to introduce a bill to change the primary date. 

Kaminsky said moving the primary is "absolutely necessary."

"It is unjust to ask voters to choose between their civic duty and their observance of a sacred holiday," he said. "It is my responsibility to encourage and empower citizens to engage in our democratic process. Therefore, I will do everything in my power to remove any hindrance from participating in our elections." 

The bill will be sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his review. He is expected to sign the measure. 

The state has changed the primary date before. In 2012, the primary was scheduled for Sept. 11. It was moved to Sept. 13 so that it wouldn't interfere with the 9/11 commemoration and Rosh Hashanah. 

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