State of New York

New York Rensselaer County Even Year Election Law Challenge

County of Rensselaer v. State of New York

Lawsuit filed by Rensselaer County, the Rensselaer County Legislature and Rensselaer County Executive Steven McLaughlin (R) against the state of New York, the New York State Legislature 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.

Rensselaer County asks the court to find the Even Year Election Law unconstitutional.

STATUS: The plaintiffs filed their complaint on April 15, 2024. The state of New York has not responded yet.

Case Documents

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