County Executive Ed Day & County Attorney Thomas Humbach are outraged that Governor Kathy Hochul has signed Election Bill S3505B/A4282B into law without any input from the public. The new law forces local elections to occur only in even years, which will result in local races being overshadowed by State and Federal elections.
“This is bare-faced partisanship and Gov. Hochul and Senator James Skoufis should be ashamed of themselves for pushing this bill through and not allowing voters to weigh in on such a major and abrupt change to their elections,” said County Executive Day. “The Rockland County Charter delineates elections and when they should occur. This law is an attempt to override that charter and local control in a home rule state and the oath I took is to that charter and the people of Rockland County, not Governor Hochul. Local governments are the most responsive and responsible to the everyday person and play a vital governance role for drinking water, social services, sewage, zoning, schools, roads, parks, police, courts, jails, trash disposal — and more.”
The County believes this law pits the more or less non-partisan issues important in local elections, against the highly charged and partisan State and Federal elections, with their emphasis on foreign policy, national security, immigration, highly dramatic allegations of scandal, and larger than life candidates with multi-million dollar campaign budgets which will buy up all available regional and local media slots and drown the public discourse on local elections out of existence.
“Supporters of this bill falsely claim this change will save money. Money might be saved if there were no elections in these odd years but that is not the case,” explained County Attorney Thomas Humbach. “There are state mandated elections of judges, sheriffs and district attorneys on these odd years, which will continue to occur under this law. Whether an election is one office or twenty, the cost of the election, to set out the booths and pay poll workers remains the same. There are not fewer polling places because there are less offices elected in a given year nor are there fewer election workers to pay.”
The County of Rockland believes the opposite will occur and the change will result in more costs because voting will be ongoing all year round, with estimates of early voting already costing an estimated $50 per vote in the County.
“Hochul and Skoufis have completely failed their constituents miserably and it is incredibly insulting that they made such a drastic decision, impacting local elections statewide, without any formal input from those they’re elected to serve,” concluded Day.