State of New York

New York Dutchess County Even Year Election Law Challenge

The County of Dutchess v. The State of New York

Lawsuit filed by Dutchess County, the Dutchess County Legislature and Dutchess County Executive Susan Serino (R) against the state of New York and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) challenging the state’s Even Year Election Law. The Even Year Election Law, signed into law by Hochul in December 2023, requires local governments in New York to hold certain local elections during even numbered calendar years. The plaintiffs argue this law violates Article IX of the New York State Constitution, which gives local governments the authority to regulate all aspects of county government including when counties hold elections for local officials.

The plaintiffs also argue that the New York Legislature exceeded its constitutional authority under Article IX. They allege that the Even Year Election Law was not passed as a “special” or “general” law. Under the state constitution, laws affecting local governments must be passed as general laws, laws that apply to all counties or special laws, which can only be enforced at the request of a local government or a two-thirds majority of both houses in the New York Legislature and a certificate of necessity from the governor. The plaintiffs argue that the Even Year Election Law is not a general law because it only applies to certain counties. They also argue that the state of New York never followed the additional procedures necessary to pass the Even Year Election Law as a special law.

Finally, the plaintiffs assert that the Even Year Election Law violates the state constitution’s bill of rights for local governments, which gives local governments the right to set the terms of office for and selection methods for local officials. They allege that holding elections in even years will change the length of terms for local officials.

Dutchess County asks the court to block the Even Year Election Law and allow the county to continue to hold local elections in odd numbered years.

STATUS: The plaintiffs filed their complaint on April 19, 2024. The state of New York has not responded yet.

Case Documents

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