Common Cause/NY Proposes Changes to the Election Law After LG Resignation

NEW YORK, NY (04/14/2022) (readMedia)-- In response to the recent resignation of the Lieutenant Governor, Brian Benjamin, Common Cause/NY held a press conference today with Assemblymember Amy Paulin to propose relevant changes to the Election Law. Currently, a candidate who has accepted his or her party's nomination to run for office can not subsequently decline it and be removed from the ballot unless they die, move out of state, or are nominated for another office. Common Cause/NY's proposed changes would expand the categories for which a candidate could decline the nomination, with Assemblymember Paulin carrying the bill.

Watch the press conference here

"The resignation of former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin surfaces a longstanding problem that Common Cause/NY has raised many times before: the overly restrictive rules for ballot declination. This is a problem for New Yorkers who will confront a ballot that does not reflect the reality of the field, and may end up throwing away their vote on a candidate who is not running for office. It's simply unfair and wrong to present the voters with a false choice. Centuries after Tammany Hall, it's time to finally change the law," said Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause/NY.

New Election Law Sec. 6-159 - Special Circumstance Declination

Notwithstanding the date specified in the notice required pursuant to Sec. 144 of this article, a person designated as a candidate for nomination or for party position, or nominated for an office, may, in a certificate signed and acknowledged by him or her, and filed no later than May 1 for a primary election or September 1 for a general election, or 72 hours before the date for certification of the ballot for a special election, decline the designation or nomination only under the following extraordinary circumstances:

  • The person has received a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness;
  • The person has been indicted for a crime;
  • The person has resigned the office for which they are nominated or designated to run for re-election, for whatever reason.

The provisions of this Article regarding filling a vacancy when a designation or nomination is declined shall apply following the creation of vacancy due to special circumstances as herein provided, except that the vacancy shall be filled no later than 72 hours after the declination is filed or 72 hours after the applicable deadline for filing the Special Circumstances declination, whichever is later.