State of New York

New York Onondaga County Even Year Election Law Challenge

County of Onondaga v. State of New York

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Onondaga County, the Onondaga County Legislature and Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon (R) against the state of New York, New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) and Onondaga County elections officials 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, they argue an amendment to Article IX protects all local laws in place passed before 1963. Onondaga’s county charter, passed in 1961, scheduled general local elections for  odd numbered years. The plaintiffs ask the court to block the law and prevent the board of elections from holding Onondaga County’s local elections in even numbered years.

Case Documents

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