Officials criticize new law moving local elections to even-numbered years

Area elected officials are blasting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s decision to sign a bill moving local elections to even-numbered years.

The new law means that the local races would be featured on the same ballot as national and statewide elections.

Republican Assemblyman Matt Simpson, of Warren County, is among critics who say that the more high-profile races will drown out local issues.

“Instead of letting local issues decide local elections, we are now allowing loud party politics and national narratives to dictate the outcome. Voters will be less informed about what are now down-ballot races. How are town supervisors, board members, trustees and others elected officials supposed to compete for airspace with national races on the top of the ticket?” he said in a statement.

Simpson said the legislation was rushed through in the waning hours of the legislative session this past spring and signed right before the holiday weekend.

Notably, Hochul did not send a news release to the media about singing this bill as she did other ones on Friday.

Sen. Jake Ashby, R-Castleton, also ripped the new law.

“The governor and the Democrats in the state Legislature seem to be the only people who wish local elections were more like our dysfunctional national politics. As a citizen, I enjoyed that my local elections were about who paved roads and who balanced budgets – and aren’t the circus that presidential races have become,” he said in a statement.

Albany County Legislator Frank Mauriello said Hochul’s decision “flies in the face” of bipartisan opposition from local bords of elections.

“No one except state Democrat politicians pushed for this change. It won’t increase voter participation because of ballot dropoff. It won’t save taxpayer money because there will still be races in odd years. Yet once again, Governor Hochul and State Democrats are ignoring these facts to put their own political party interests first,” he said in a statement.

Supporters claim that the new legislation will increase turnout for the local elections.