The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) is calling on Governor Hochul to veto legislation (S.3505-B/A.4282-B) that will require local elections outside of New York City be held on even years when the federal and state offices are on the ballot.

The measure was passed in the dark of night during the final hours of this year’s legislative session, with no input from the local governments it would impact and little public notice.

Last week, during its annual Fall Seminar conference, delegates unanimously adopted a resolution asking Governor Hochul to veto this legislation for several reasons, including but not limited to the fact that it curtails local home rule authority, will result in less attention to local issues at stake in local elections, will not result in taxpayer savings or more efficiency, and was not vetted by local leaders or subject to public hearings.

NYSAC represents all of the elected officials in the 57 counties impacted by this proposal, including more than 300 town supervisors who also serve on their county boards of supervisors. New York City, which has dozens of majority members in both the Assembly and Senate, is exempt from this action.

NYSAC President and Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy said, “Every year, politics gets more and more divisive, and substantive issues drift further and further off the radar. By moving local elections into the same year as our often toxic and divisive federal and state elections, the critical issues that actually impact New Yorkers’ daily lives will get drowned out by the mudslinging of national and state politics. The residents of our communities deserve better. They deserve to hear substantive debate about the issues that matter, which this legislation will only make harder. That’s why we’re calling on the Governor to veto this bill.”

NYSAC Immediate Past-President Michael E. Zurlo said, “We have significant concerns regarding this legislation. Primarily that in even-year elections, state and national politics will drown out local concerns that have a direct impact on the everyday lives of New Yorkers. It is this very reason why some municipalities have constitutional protections to have odd-year elections – so the focus can be on local issues.”

NYSAC Executive Director Stephen Acquario said, “To blatantly target certain local governments and exclude all others such as libraries, school districts, cities, and villages, it just doesn’t make sense. This bill turns the phrase “all politics is local” on its head and will erode the local democratic ideals that have driven this nation since its founding. We do not need Albany and Washington to control the narrative in our neighborhoods and communities, and this act will reverberate negatively for years to come. Let the people decide when to hold their important local elections.”

Evidence has shown that the longer the ballot, the higher the likelihood that voters will not vote for down-ballot races, which is where local candidates will fall due to ballot fatigue. Counties have seen no analysis that this proposal would save any money as there are city races and county offices, including Sheriff, Clerk, and District Attorney, that will still be held in odd years, negating any purported savings.

The New York State Association of Counties is a bipartisan municipal association serving all the counties of New York State, including the City of New York. Organized in 1925, NYSAC’s mission is to represent, educate, serve, and advocate for member counties and the elected and appointed county officials who serve the public.