Friday, February 25, 2011

Delay Special Elections

New Yorkers have been anxiously waiting for weeks to hear when Gov. Andrew Cuomo would schedule a special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee in the NY-26, and on Wednesday he acted, but to announce a proposal that would delay the timetable for special elections. Now this idea has been introduced in the Assembly (AB 5698)and the Senate (SB 3500), with meetings scheduled for early in the week, which seems to indicate that this measure is being fast tracked through both houses.
The proposal would expand the period between the announcement of a special election and the date of the election by 40 days. As a result, the special election would be held between seventy and eighty days from its announcement, rather than between thirty and forty days.
According to Cuomo, the extension would allow county boards of elections the necessary amount of time to ensure that military ballots could be mailed and counted, in compliance with federal law.
"For years, New Yorkers serving in the military abroad have been inadvertently left out of the electoral process," said Cuomo in a press release. "This measure will rectify the discrepancy between New York state and federal laws regarding special elections, allow members of the military to have their voices heard, and ensure fair and accurate representation of the citizens of New York."
Additionally, the governor's proposal would change the date by which the State Board of Elections must certify candidate information to the applicable county boards of elections from 13 days to 53 days before a special election.
The senate bill, from Sen. Tom O'Mara, has a committee meeting on Monday in the Committee on Elections, which he is the chairman of. It's Assembly counterpart, from member Joan L. Millman, will be addressed in the Assembly Committee on Elections, which she is the chair of, on Wednesday.

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