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[The 63rd seat] will be in the State of New York. It will be not on the Island.

Primary date, 63rd district location still up in the air

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The dates for primary elections in 2012 remain up in the air, with Democrats wanting a June date and Republicans preferring August, as they await a federal court ruling. Meanwhile, Senate Leader Dean Skelos dropped another hint about new district maps that state lawmakers will soon release. He says the newly created 63rd district will not be in his home region of Long Island.

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Karen DeWitt
NYS Capitol Correspondent

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A federal judge ruled last year that New York’s traditional date for the primary, the second Tuesday of September, occurs too late for military absentee ballots to be processed before the general election. Democrats and Republicans have been arguing about an alternative date ever since. Democrats prefer June, but Republicans say August is better. Senate GOP Leader Dean Skelos says June would fall at the end of the legislative session and cause problems for the Democratic led Assembly and Speaker Sheldon Silver.

“Could you imagine the chaos that’s going to exist in the last five weeks of session if you have primaries going on in New York City?” Skelos asked. “Shelly won’t be able to get a quorum."

Skelos says a June primary would push the date up for nominating petitions to late winter, and he says that could be “very difficult” for Northern Regions of the state, like Watertown and the North Country, where severe winter weather often lasts through March.  

So far, Governor Andrew Cuomo has not become involved in the dispute. A federal judge is set to rule any day now on a date for at least the federal portion of the primary, for seats for the US Senate and Congress. Meanwhile, Senator Skelos dropped another hint about new district maps that state lawmakers will soon release. He says the newly created 63rd district will not be in his home region of Long Island.

Senator Skelos said previously that the Senate would create a new 63rd district as part of the redrawing of legislative district lines required by the census. Since then, the maps for both the Senate and the Assembly have been a closely guarded secret, much to the outrage of minority party Democrats in the Senate, who have called the process a farce. Senator Skelos now says that the 63rd district will be carved out of existing Senate districts upstate, and not on the Senator’s home turf of Long Island, or New York City.

“It will be in the state of New York,” said Skelos. “It will be not on the Island.”  

Senator Skelos says the public will be able to see the maps next week. Governor Cuomo has threatened in the past to veto new district lines that are gerrymandered, and not done by an independent commission, but Cuomo has remained silent on the subject in recent weeks.  

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