State of New York

New York Oneida County Even Year Election Law Challenge

County of Oneida v. State of New York

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Oneida County, the Oneida County Board of County Legislators and two Republican county officials 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 argue the Savings Clause of Article IX protects all local laws in place passed before 1963. Oneida’s county charter, passed in 1961, scheduled general local elections for odd numbered years. The plaintiffs ask the court to block the law and allow Oneida County to continue holding elections for county executive, county comptroller and county legislators during odd numbered years.

Onondaga County filed a similar lawsuit challenging the state’s Even Year Election Law in March 2024.

STATUS: The county filed its complaint on April 8, 2024. The state of New York has not responded yet.

Case Documents

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