State of New York

New York Nassau County Even Year Election Law Challenge

County of Nassau v. State of New York

Lawsuit filed by Nassau County, Nassau County Legislature and Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman (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 claim 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 contend that the Even Year Election Law is not a general law because it only applies to certain counties. They also maintain  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Year Election Law violates the state’s doctrine of legislative equivalency requiring any existing law to be amended or repealed by the same or equivalent legislative procedures used to implement it. Since Nassau County’s local election years were established by a charter and referendum in 1936, the plaintiffs argue that Nassau County can only change its election years under a similar process. The plaintiffs ask the court to block this law and allow Nassau County to continue to hold local elections in odd numbered years.

STATUS: Nassau County filed this complaint on April 5, 2024. There is a motion to consolidate this case with a similar lawsuit in Onondoga County.

Case Documents

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