A series of disputes is likely to send voters in two states to the polls more than once for 2012 party primaries.
An impasse among Ohio legislators over the state's new redistricting map has brought about the state's two primaries next year, while New York officials are grappling with a Department of Defense order to find a new day for congressional and Senate primaries in 2012.
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that Ohio legislators have passed a self-imposed deadline to create a new congressional map, which would allow for all offices to be on the March primary ballot. With the legislature controlled by Republicans and Gov. John Kasich (R), a Republican-leaning map was created but state Democrats have filed plans to seek a referendum to overturn the map, placing the new map on hold. Lawmakers had hoped to have a deal in place for a compromise map prior to the Dec. 7 deadline for filing for the March primary ballot.
Ohio voters will likely be asked to vote for president in the March primary and other offices in a June primary. In addition to congressional and state legislative seats, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is up for a second term, with Republicans likely to nominate state Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) as his opponent.
In New York, the Department of Defense rejected the state's request to continue with the traditional second week of September primary for congressional and U.S. Senate seats in 2012 due to the delays in drawing new congressional and legislative maps, the Albany Times-Union reported. The alternate primary day is needed to comply with a new federal law requiring that absentee ballots be sent to the military 45 days before the November election.
A federal judge ruled that New York's primary for federal offices could be held no later than Aug. 18. This would result in a total of three primaries: an April presidential vote, an August congressional vote and a September state and local office vote.
In addition to the 212 state legislative seats, New Yorkers will be picking members of Congress in 2012, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) will be seeking election a full term in office. Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos (R) has announced his intention to oppose Gillibrand, while investment banker Harry Wilson, the unsuccessful 2010 Republican nominee for state comptroller, has been mentioned as a potential Senate candidate.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) also signed a bill in March to double the time needed to send out absentee ballots, bringing the state into compliance with federal law. The law was signed in order to facilitate a May special election to fill the Buffalo area congressional seat vacated by former Rep. Chris Lee (R). Kathy Hochul (D) won Lee's seat, defeating Assemblywoman Jane Corwin (R).
The potential Ohio referendum on the redistricting map comes as Ohio Democrats are close to forcing a November 2012 vote to overturn the state's new voting law and just weeks after progressive forces in the state won a referendum to overturn the state's collective bargaining law. The referendums are allowed under a clause in the state constitution that allows voters to overturn state laws passed by the legislature and governor.