In a move that has sparked widespread controversy, New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed a bill that shifts most local elections to even-numbered years, aligning them with federal elections. While Governor Hochul touts this as a stride towards a “more inclusive democracy,” critics are slamming the decision as a strategic maneuver to strengthen Democratic control, effectively ending the essence of local elections in New York.
This law, amending various state legislations, now schedules many county and town elections outside of New York City to coincide with federal election years. Governor Hochul celebrated the signing, claiming it as a progressive step towards enhancing voter participation and reducing voter fatigue, while also aiming to save taxpayer dollars.
However, this move has met with fierce opposition. Stephen Acquario, Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties, has accused Hochul of injecting national political divisiveness into local elections and overshadowing critical local issues under lengthy ballots.
New York State Senator Robert Ortt, a Republican, took to social media, condemning the Governor’s actions as a blatant Democrat power grab, dismissing the proclaimed benefits as a façade for expanding Democratic dominance across all government levels.
With total disregard for bipartisan opposition to this proposal, Gov Hochul signed the bill that effectively ends local elections in New York.
The touted benefits are a sham concocted to hide NYDem's goal of expanding one-party control to every level of govt.
Full Statement⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ggQ5tZpHb9
— Rob Ortt (@SenatorOrtt) December 22, 2023
Representative Elise Stefanik (R-NY) echoed similar sentiments, labeling the law a “shameful power grab” and accusing it of nationalizing local elections, a sentiment shared by others in the political sphere.
My full statement on Kathy Hochul's shameful power grab nationalizing local elections: pic.twitter.com/ljhSB7X3ic
— Elise Stefanik (@EliseStefanik) December 23, 2023
Bob Lonsberry, an Upstate New York radio host and journalist, criticized the timing of Hochul’s decision, suggesting it as a move to obliterate news coverage of local issues and facilitate a Democratic takeover of local elections and offices, mockingly referring to it as a tyrannical way of wishing ‘Merry Christmas.’
MARK MY WORD: Kathy Hochul will late tomorrow sign the bill that moves local New York elections to even years, obliterating news coverage of local issues and enabling the Democratic takeover of local elections and offices. That's how tyranny says, "Merry Christmas!"
— Bob Lonsberry (@BobLonsberry) December 21, 2023
Alison Esposito, a former New York lieutenant governor candidate, also expressed dismay at the decision. She accused Governor Hochul of using a Friday evening news dump to diminish the importance of local governments and community issues, advocating for more local control rather than increasing the Governor’s influence.
Leave it to the Empress Governor herself with a Friday evening news dump to sign a law moving local elections to even numbered years. This power grab by one-party rule will diminish the importance of local governments & community issues. We need more local control & less Hochul… https://t.co/kJpWNNcvtE
— Alison Esposito (@EspositoforNY) December 22, 2023