State of New York

New York Suffolk County Even Year Election Law Challenge

Ashlaw v. State of New York

Lawsuit filed by Suffolk County, the town of Hempstead and seven voters from Suffolk, Jefferson and Nassau County against New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D), the state of New York and county election 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 that the Even Year Election Law takes away the right of local governments and voters to participate in the political process, unfairly discriminates against counties in New York that hold local elections during odd-numbered years and takes away New Yorker’s right to vote in violation of Articles I and II of New York Constitution. 

 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 and the length of their terms.

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. They allege that the towns and counties where the seven voters reside have town charters passed before 1963 that set local elections for odd numbered years.

The plaintiffs ask the court to find the Even Year Election Law unconstitutional.

STATUS: The plaintiffs filed their complaint on April 19, 2024. Litigation is ongoing.

Case Documents

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