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Gov. Hochul and the Majority Should Focus on Governing Instead of Changing Election Laws to Benefit their Political Party

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“Don’t believe the governor’s rhetoric that she signed this legislation to increase turnout”

Editorial by NYS Assemblyman Joseph Giglio,

ALBANY – A couple days before Christmas, when she hoped no one was looking, Gov. Hochul signed into law legislation that will force local governments to move their elections to even-numbered years.

That means candidates for local town and county races will have to compete for attention alongside elections for president, governor, statewide races and Congress.

She did this even though town and county officials, Republican and Democrat Board of Election Commissioners and members of the New York Association of Counties asked her not to. They warned that moving local elections to even years won’t save money, will only marginally increase voter participation and will make it difficult for town and county candidates to get their message out amid the dominance and noise of state and national campaigns, like the race for president.

And they are right.

The American people are sovereign. When voters go to the polls to vote in local elections, they are voting in the best interest of their home community.

Voters going to the polls to vote in local and county elections are voting to pick the elected officials who have the greatest impact on their lives. In other words, they are motivated and invested in the issues those candidate campaign on.

Historically, local and county elections are among the most competitive races we have in New York. They are also the races where challengers, Democrat and Republican alike, have the best chance of unseating an incumbent. Moving all elections to even years will end that and protect incumbents.

The hard-working men and women of New York are busy people. Everyone and everything is competing for their attention. How will local candidates, challengers and incumbents alike, find space in the media to get their message out amid the clamor of a presidential race?

Far from opening up and encouraging participation in local elections, Gov. Hochul and the Democrat majority in the Assembly and Senate have ensured those races will become bottom-of-the-ballot afterthoughts.

That’s by design. Don’t believe the governor’s rhetoric that she signed this legislation to increase turnout. She would never do anything to endanger her party’s dominance over New York politics.

Emboldened by one-party-rule in Albany, Gov. Hochul hasn’t been shy about her intentions. In 2021 Gov. Hochul told the New York Times working on a story about redistricting that as the leader of the New York State Democratic Party, she would use her position to help Democrats gain seats in the US House.

She’s changed her tune after those initial maps were ruled hopelessly gerrymandered and were tossed out as hopelessly partisan. But I believe in trusting people when they tell you and show you who they are the first time.

This legislation is blatantly partisan. No matter how they try to spin it in the press, the goal of Gov. Hochul and her allies in the majority in the Assembly and Senate is to twist the system to protect their power and privilege.

It will undermine the fairness of local elections by moving village, town and county legislative and executive races to even numbered years along with campaigns for state and federal office. Elections for city offices, sheriff, town clerk and district attorney will still be held on odd-numbered years. Any savings will be negligible at best.

And it ignores the fact that people aren’t voting because of us, because of what their elected officials do and don’t do.

They’re tired of the fighting. They’re tired of the lack of action. They feel ignored because they are being ignored.

The problem is we need a governor who isn’t running for their next office.

And we need a majority in the Legislature that will put on their hard hats and tackle the issues facing New Yorkers – the self-inflicted migrant crisis, rampant crime and out-of-control spending in Albany.

That’s the job we were elected to do.

Assemblyman Joseph Giglio represents the 148th District, which consists of all of Cattaraugus and Allegany counties and portions of Steuben County as well. For more information, visit Assemblyman Giglio’s Official Website.

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