Sen. Roy Dyson, vice chair of the Senate committee that handles election law, said Tuesday that he and Chair Joan Carter Conway would propose legislation to move he 2014 gubernatorial primary to the second Tuesday in July, rather than its traditional mid-September date.

The change is designed to help Maryland comply with the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE), the 2009 law that requires absentee ballots be sent to voters overseas and in the military 45 days before an election.

At a meeting of the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, Dyson, D-St. Mary’s, said he has heard that Gov. Martin O’Malley wants to set the primary for the second Tuesday in June.

The move would accelerate the campaign schedule for all state and county officials by more than two months, giving challengers more time to run against incumbents.

In 2010, the Sept. 14 primary was among the last in the nation.

With the 2010 primary in mid-September, State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said, the state only had three days to prepare ballots to send out for the general election.

Maryland received a waiver from the MOVE Act for 2010, but Lamone said the problem needs to be solved.
“We really don’t care when the primary is, as long as we have enough lead time,” Lamone said.

After the meeting, Deputy Elections Administrator Ross Goldstein said that a 90-day window between the primary and general elections would be ideal.

—Megan Poinski