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St. Patrick's Day pushes village elections back by a day to Wednesday

Kings Park St. Patrick's Day Parade participants march

Kings Park St. Patrick's Day Parade participants march on Saturday, March 7, 2015. #LIStPats Credit: Joseph Kellard/ Instagram user josephkellard

The luck of the Irish trumps local elections.

State law requires the year's first round of village elections to be held on the third Tuesday in March -- unless that Tuesday is March 17, St. Patrick's Day.

The holiday takes precedence, and elections are rescheduled for the next day. This year, the village elections will be held on Wednesday, March 18.

New York's statue, signed into law in 1998 by Gov. George Pataki, was meant to codify what villages were doing unofficially, state Board of Elections spokesman John Conklin said.

"Villages were doing it haphazardly, and they [the board of elections] wanted to make it uniform," Conklin said. "There were Irish-American people who petitioned the legislature and said, 'We want you to recognize our heritage and we want you to make it uniform.' "

The overlap of St. Patrick's Day and Election Day doesn't come often. Since the law was adopted, it's happened only once before, in 2009.

The state occasionally has to reschedule elections because of other conflicts, Conklin said. He pointed to the next state primary, which is scheduled for the third Tuesday in September and falls on Rosh Hashanah this year.

"We've alerted the legislature that it's going to happen and they may want to move it," Conklin said.

Some Long Island mayors said changing Election Day was a routine matter and might improve voter turnout.

"If we had it on St. Patrick's Day, we don't know what kind of response we'd get," Head of the Harbor Mayor Doug Dahlgard said.

"We're a small village and for us it [changing the date] won't make much difference," said Mark Delaney, mayor of the Village of the Branch. "From my standpoint as an Irish-American, I think it's kind of amusing."

But, he added, "I'm a little older and I don't treat St. Patrick's Day the way I used to."

For complete coverage of the contested village races and referendums being decided on March 18, visit

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