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Rockland County Sues New York State Over Election Law Changes, Asserting Right to Home Rule and Local Control

The County of Rockland and County Executive Ed Day are suing the State of New York for its Election Bill (S3505B/A4282B, Chapter 741), which demands local elections to occur only in even numbered years, while cutting terms down a year – a direct violation of our charter – and ultimately forcing local races to be overshadowed by State and Federal elections.

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 charters, laws, and control in a home rule state and the oath I took is to our Federal and State Constitutions, our charter, and the people of Rockland County not Governor Hochul,” said County Executive Day. “Local governments are the most responsive and responsible to the everyday person and play a vital governance role for drinking water, social services, sewage, zoning, schools, roads, parks, police, courts, jails, trash disposal — and more- and we have a constitutional right to say how our local officials are chosen.”

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.

“Without citation to any evidence, the State believes voters are incapable of voting once a year due to being confused and fatigued,” said County Attorney Thomas Humbach. “I do not know about the constituents of the Governor and the sponsors of this bill, but the voters of Rockland County believe in the democratic process, understand that local elections are important (after all for most middle-class people, half of their taxes and more of their services come from local government) and can handle voting once a year.”

The county is of the position that Rockland residents deserve to hear from their local candidates without interference from national races which will drown out local concerns.

“The election manipulation without representation, forcibly removing our right to self-govern and limiting the next term of the County Executive and Legislature to three years instead of four years required by our laws, and reducing Town and Village officials by a year is wrong,” added County Executive Day. “By filing this suit, we are standing up for home rule and putting the State on notice that we have the right to control our own destinies.”

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