January 27, 2012 7:50 PM
By ALBANY -- A federal judge has set the fourth Tuesday in June for New York's congressional primary election to ensure that it allows enough time for absentee ballots to be sent to military and overseas voters.. In his ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Gary Sharpe said the state could still pick a different date as long as it complies with the federal law.. New York's previous primary date in early September would have kept it from complying with the deadline for sending out ballots 45 days before a federal general election, Sharpe wrote.. The primary date will be June 26 this year -- at least 35 days before the deadline for sending absentee ballots to military and overseas voters for the general election Nov. 6.. "Nothing is more critical to a vibrant democratic society than citizen participation in government through the act of voting," Sharpe wrote. "It is unconscionable to send men and women overseas to preserve our democracy while simultaneously disenfranchising them while they are gone. To some extent, that is precisely what New York has done."