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Mass. Primary Is Set For Sept. 4, Galvin Says

Massachusetts will hold its state primary elections on Tuesday, Sept. 4, the day after the Labor Day holiday.

Secretary of State William Galvin was required by law to move the primary to an earlier date than it would otherwise be set — Tuesday, Sept. 18 — in order to avoid a conflict with Jewish religious holidays.

State law requires Galvin to schedule the primary within seven days of the second Tuesday of September, which this year is Sept. 11, leaving the secretary a window from Sept. 4 until Sept. 18 to hold the election. The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur begins Sept. 18, and a week earlier — Sept. 11 — conflicts with another Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah.

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, who is running against Galvin in the 2018 primary, expressed outrage at the decision, telling WBUR that the date is too early and people will not be paying as much attention to politics as they return from summer vacations. He added that he would have preferred the election be held on a weekend.

"It's going to depress turnout. I can't speak to the secretary's motives," Zakim said. "It's interesting that the time he's having a challenge that for the first time in our history we're going to have a primary the day after Labor Day."

Massachusetts Senate President Harriette Chandler issued a statement Tuesday, calling Galvin's choice "the best consensus option."

"... The proposed five days of early voting will help provide ample opportunities for voters to make their voices heard," she added.

Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and their challengers will be on the ballot for this fall's election, as will state lawmakers and members of Congress.

Galvin made the decision after accepting public comment on the primary date and holding a hearing at which one person testified. Most of those who weighed in asked that the primary not interfere with a Jewish holiday.

With additional reporting from WBUR's Jon Cain

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