Legislation could move local elections could move to even years in NY
A spokesperson for Gov. Kathy Hochul said she is "reviewing legislation" that would move town and local elections from odd years to even years to align them with bigger state and federal races.
The bills led by state Sen. James Skoufis and Assemblywoman Amy Paulin passed both houses in the state Legislature this past session and will soon be sent to the governor's desk.
Skoufis said the goal of the bill is to increase voter turnout, which was poor once again on Tuesday's primary election.
"I happen to subscribe to the position that more voter participation is a good thing," said Democratic state Sen. James Skoufis.
The idea behind the legislation is to increase turnout by putting smaller races on the ballot when more people are likely to be at the polls.
Historically, general and midterm elections in even years see much more political involvement from voters.
But not everyone is on board.
Republican Rockland County Executive Ed Day sent a letter to the governor calling on her to veto the bill once it reaches her desk.
He and others argue the law would give down-ballot Democrats an advantage by putting smaller races underneath big-ticket candidates in a state where voters tend to lean left.
Others, including some Democrats, worry the local races will be overshadowed.
"This is just nothing but an attempt to take advantage of voter registration numbers in the gubernatorial and the federal elections," said Republican Rockland County Executive Ed Day.
Skoufis said Republicans need to look no further than last year's gubernatorial election where Republican candidate Lee Zeldin won big in the suburbs and that momentum carried to some of the state legislative races.
The law would not affect city elections or contests for district attorneys.
If signed, local elected officials would have to serve a shortened term to adjust to the new schedule.
A new Siena College poll released Wednesday found New York voters believe realigning the races would benefit the state by a 2-1 margin.