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Rockland County Challenges NY Election Law, Cites Increased Voter Costs Despite Promises of Savings

The County of Rockland and County Executive Ed Day have discovered claims that New York State’s new Election Law (S3505B/A4282B, Chapter 741) will save money are incorrect.

In a letter, the Rockland County Board of Elections underscores that elections for many races, including “Town Justice races and County races for Sheriff, County Clerk, District Attorney, Family Court Judge, and Surrogate” will still occur in odd-numbered years, and still have the same overhead costs.

For that reason, the County BOE has determined there will not be any savings on odd number years and will in fact increase costs in even-numbered years by approximately $30,000.

“Not only did State lawmakers shift local elections and cut terms down a year, a direct violation of our charter, but in doing so are burdening families with a higher cost,” said County Executive Ed Day.  

The State Legislators who voted for this bill almost entirely represent cities which are not impacted and will continue to have all their elections, while suburban and rural legislators which are impacted, voted 2 to 1 against this legislation.

“This law is another attempt to override local control in a home rule state,” said County Executive Day. “Local governments are the most responsive and responsible to the everyday person and we have a constitutional right to say how our local officials are chosen.”

“Clearly this is not a cost savings, and this state legislation is not in the best interests of the voters due to the fact that local races and issues will be overshadowed and lost when combined with State and Federal elections,” said Lon Hofstein, Rockland County Legislature Minority Leader.

On April 22, 2024, the County of Rockland filed a lawsuit against the State of New York to preserve the rights of the people of this County to choose when and how often they vote to select their elected officials.

“The State enacted this law because the city Legislators and the Governor wrongly believe voters are incapable of voting once a year due to being confused and fatigued,” said County Attorney Thomas Humbach. “These lawmakers from New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse are outsider to the county and town governments.  They are out of touch with county and town voters and are working against their interests.  Let the city-based legislators dictate terms to the cities they represent and leave the counties’ and towns’ form of government to the people who live there.”

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