U ALBANY OFFICE; ROOM 907, LOB ALBANY, NEW YORK 12247 518—455-2788 FAX;5I8-426-6806 U DISTRICT OFFICE; 222 EAST 96TH STREEr BROOKLYN, NEWYORK 11236 718-649-7653 FAX; 718-649-7661 U CAPITOL OFFICE; ROOM 315 ALBANY NEW YORK 2247 518-455.2715

December 6, 2011

Hon. Gary L. Sharpe United States District Court Northern District of New York James T. Foley U.S. Courthouse 44 Broadway, Room 441 Albany, New York 12207 Re: United States of America v. State of New York. et al. Case No: 1:1O—CV— 1214 (GLS)

Dear Judge Sharpe: On behalf of the New York State Senate Minority Conference, I write in support of a June primary election, rather than an August one, as the best way to ensure state compliance with federal law, as well as greater voter participation. I note that that our conference shares this position with the New York State Assembly, the New’ York State Election Commissioners’ Association and several “good government” groups. As an initial matter, the Court will need to determine whether to provide the Legislature with additional time to come to an agreement on a new date, as required by the federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (“UOCAVA”) and the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (“MOVE’). On this issue we concur with the Senate Majority Conference’s position that more time is not likely to yield a legislative resolution. Given the legislative deadlock, I believe that the Court can and should set a primary date—for both the federal and state elections—without further delay. If the Court agrees and decides to set a primary date now, there are several reasons why a June primary is highly preferable to August. First, contrary to DOJ’s assertions, and as both the Assembly and the Election Commissioners’ Association have pointed out, an August primary election would not ensure compliance with UOCAVA and the MOVE Act. This is due to a number of factors, including the large numbers of absentee and affidavit ballots that are often not tallied for weeks after an election, litigation that typically ensues after close elections, and state Jaws requiring runoffs in certain New York City primaries and permitting court-ordered new


primaries in certain circumstances. It is not unusual for local boards or the State Board of Elections to require several weeks to certit’ election results. In 20W. the last election results were not certified until February of the folLowing year. A primary on the last Tuesday in June would permit these various scenarios to play out with enough time to prepare for the November general election and to send overseas absentee ballots in accordance with federal law. An August primary date would not offer that same guarantee. In addition, as various civic and voting rights organizations have already pointed out, it is widely believed that a June primary would encourage greater voter participation than a July or August primary. In addition to the fact that many New Yorkers take vacations in July or August, setting a primary date when most schools are closed would likely necessitate finding alternative polling locations, recruiting new elections inspectors, and other changes that might confuse voters and ultimately discourage participation. This would undermine the entire rationale behind UOCAVA and the MOVE Act. Thank you in advance for your consideration of the New York State Senate Minority Conference’s position on this important matter. Respectfully submitted,

John L. Sampson Minority Leader New York State Senate


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