MONTPELIER - A new federal law could force Vermont to move up the date of next year's fall election primary.

The new federal law requires states to send absentee ballots to oversees voters at least 45 days before the election. Under the current system, there isn't enough time to do that between the scheduled Sept. 14 primary and the Nov. 2, 2010 general election.

Secretary of State Deb Markowitz says she will ask the Legislature to move up the primary.

Last year she asked the Legislature to make the primary the fourth Tuesday in August. The Senate passed the measure, but it wasn't taken up by the House. States can apply for a waiver to the new rule.

Markowitz is running for governor next year.