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Will multiple primaries lead to voter confusion?

All sizes: Voters short and tall
Columbia City Blog
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Republican Presidential primary politics comes to New York state Tuesday. It's the first of three different primary days across the state this year. Election officials worry that all these primary days will end up confusing voters.

Onondaga County Republican Elections Commissioner Helen Kiggens has been in the election business for more than 30 years.

"This is definitely the worst it's ever been. We've never had a situation where they've separated the ballot and we've had different primaries. This is just insane." Kiggins said.

After tomorrow's presidential primary there will be a primary for federal offices June 16, and then a ballot for state and local offices that will be held sometime in August or September. The state legislature is still trying to figure out the timing for the last ballot.

All these ballots equal voter confusion, said Kiggins. She feels especially bad for military voters overseas.

"We have to mail out overseas ballots with just federal offices on them, then we have to send the second ballot to the military voters with every office on it. So, they're going to be extremely confused," Kiggins said.

These military voters are the focus of the new June primary date. A federal judge ordered the new date, saying the usual September primary wouldn't allow enough time to get absentee ballots to military voters before the November election.

And of course, these primary elections cost voters money. Kiggens says a full blown primary costs local taxpayers $100,000. The smaller primaries she's expecting this year cost around $40,000 a piece as elections officials consolidate voting sites.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.