Bruce Nyman

This primary day, there’s a lot on the line


For the first time since the bad old days of Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall, some New York voters will be able to vote twice on the same day. But this year, on Primary Day, it will be legal.

On April 19, Democratic and Republican voters in the 9th Senate District will be offered two separate ballots. Registered Democrats can vote for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, and Republicans can choose among Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Those ballots will be scanned into voting machines marked “President.”

Members of the Independence, Conservative, Green and Working Families parties, along with their fellow “blanks” (no party affiliation) can only stand by and watch. They can’t vote, this time. But they’ll join Democrats and Republicans in casting ballots in the special election for the 9th District. Their choices will be Democratic State Assemblyman Todd Kaminsky, of Long Beach; first-time Republican candidate Chris McGrath, a Garden City attorney; and Laurence “Seth” Hirsh, a North Woodmere accountant and the Green Party candidate. The Senate ballots will be scanned by voting machines marked “State Senate.”

The Senate election is for a very unusual term. Not the customary two years, but 8½ months, the unexpired term of former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, who was stripped of his seat after his conviction on corruption charges in December. So, if the winner likes the job, he’ll have to run for re-election this fall.

Political pundits have pronounced this “the most important election in New York state history,” which will “determine the future of Albany.” Here’s why: As it stands now, Republicans have a slim majority in the 63-seat Senate, with 31 seats and the help of Sen. Simcha Felder, a Brooklyn Democrat who conferences with Republicans. The Democrats hold 30 seats, but a gang of five, dubbed the Independent Democratic Conference, often votes with the Republicans as well.

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