senate Bill S26

Relates to the procedure for filling a vacancy in the office of state senator or in the office of member of assembly

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 05 / Jan / 2011
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 04 / Jan / 2012
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Summary

Relates to the procedure for filling a vacancy in the office of state senator or in the office of member of assembly; allows for independent nominating petitions to be presented and provides for a special election to be held forty-five days from the date of the governor making a proclamation for a special election.

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Bill Details

See Assembly Version of this Bill:
A1369
Versions:
S26
Legislative Cycle:
2011-2012
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd ยง6-116, El L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Cycles:
2009-2010: S5294, A645
2007-2008: A10633

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S26

TITLE OF BILL:
An act
to amend the election law, in relation to the procedure to fill senate
and assembly vacancies

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL:
This bill reforms the system of
filling vacancies in the New York State legislature, by implementing
nonpartisan special elections to replace the closed nomination
process conducted by party committees.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:
Notwithstanding the provisions of
subdivision one of this section, a vacancy in the office of the state
senator or in the office of member of assembly required to be filled
at the next general election shall be filled by popular election in
the following manner: (a) Within three days of the occurrence of a
vacancy, the governor shall make proclamation of a special
non-partisan election to fill such office, specifying the district or
county in which the election is to be held, and the day thereof,
which shall be forty-five days from the date of the proclamation. (b)
All nominations for elections to fill vacancies held pursuant to this
subdivision shall be by independent nominating petition, such
petitions to be subject to the provisions of this article pertaining
to independent nominations except as is otherwise set forth in this
subdivision. The sheets of the independent nominating petition shall
set forth in every instance the name of the signer, his or her
address, town or city (except in the city of New York, the county),
and the date the signature is fixed. Such petition shall be required
to contain a designated number of signatures which shall be the
lesser of five percent of votes cast in the
last preceding gubernatorial election or one thousand five hundred
signatures per petition for the office of state senator and seven
hundred fifty signatures per petition for the office of member of
assembly.

JUSTIFICATION:
The current selection procedure for filling vacancies
in the legislature restricts the participation of voters in the
electoral process, thereby undermining democracy. Presently, in the
event that there is a vacancy in the state legislature, the process
of selecting a new representative does not permit real voter
participation in a contested election. Rather, a committee filled
with political insiders conducts a closed nomination meeting to
determine what candidate obtains the party line, effectively
guaranteeing election in many districts throughout New York State.

New York State's reelection rate ranks among the highest in the nation
at 95 percent. Consequently, legislators elected through the current
special election process are generally guaranteed a
prolonged seat in New York State Assembly, a staggering 33 percent of
legislators obtained office via a special election. Essentially, then,
a significant number of legislators have been placed into office


without the districts they serve being given a meaningful choice to
fill the vacancy.

A fundamental tenet of our democracy is the accountability of elected
officials to the public, best achieved through competitive elections.
Under the current special election system, some legislators are more
likely accountable to the party leaders and insiders who effectively
place them into office. Reform of the vacancy fulfillment process
through implementation of a non-partisan special election system will
improve public accountability and reduce the influence of outside
forces on the legislature.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
2010: S.5294/A.645

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
None.

EFFECTIVE DATE:
This act shall take effect immediately.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                   26

                       2011-2012 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               (PREFILED)

                             January 5, 2011
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sen. SQUADRON -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections

AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to the procedure  to  fill
  senate and assembly vacancies

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 6-116 of the election law, as  amended  by  chapter
373 of the laws of 1978, is amended to read as follows:
  S  6-116.  Party  nominations;  election to fill a vacancy. 1. A party
nomination of a candidate for election to fill a vacancy in an  elective
office  required  to  be  filled at the next general election, occurring
after seven  days  before  the  last  day  for  circulating  designating
petitions  or after the holding of the meeting or convention to nominate
or designate candidates for such, shall be made, after the  day  of  the
primary  election, by a majority vote of a quorum of the state committee
if the vacancy occurs in an office to be filled by  all  voters  of  the
state,  and otherwise by a majority vote of a quorum of the members of a
county committee or committees last elected in the political subdivision
in which such vacancy is to be filled, or by a majority  of  such  other
committee  as the rules of the party may provide. A certificate of nomi-
nation shall be filed as provided for [herein] IN THIS ARTICLE.
  2. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SUBDIVISION ONE OF THIS  SECTION,
A  VACANCY  IN THE OFFICE OF STATE SENATOR OR IN THE OFFICE OF MEMBER OF
ASSEMBLY REQUIRED TO BE FILLED AT THE NEXT  GENERAL  ELECTION  SHALL  BE
FILLED BY POPULAR ELECTION IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER:
  (A)  WITHIN  THREE  DAYS  OF THE OCCURRENCE OF A VACANCY, THE GOVERNOR
SHALL MAKE PROCLAMATION OF A SPECIAL NON-PARTISAN ELECTION TO FILL  SUCH
OFFICE, SPECIFYING THE DISTRICT OR COUNTY IN WHICH THE ELECTION IS TO BE
HELD,  AND THE DAY THEREOF, WHICH SHALL BE FORTY-FIVE DAYS FROM THE DATE
OF THE PROCLAMATION.

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00116-01-1

S. 26                               2

  (B) ALL NOMINATIONS FOR ELECTIONS TO FILL VACANCIES HELD  PURSUANT  TO
THIS  SUBDIVISION  SHALL  BE  BY  INDEPENDENT  NOMINATING PETITION, SUCH
PETITIONS TO BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ARTICLE PERTAINING  TO
INDEPENDENT  NOMINATIONS EXCEPT AS IS OTHERWISE SET FORTH IN THIS SUBDI-
VISION.    THE  SHEETS  OF THE INDEPENDENT NOMINATING PETITION SHALL SET
FORTH IN EVERY INSTANCE THE NAME OF THE SIGNER,  HIS  OR  HER  RESIDENCE
ADDRESS,  TOWN OR CITY (EXCEPT IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, THE COUNTY), AND
THE DATE THE SIGNATURE IS FIXED. SUCH  PETITION  SHALL  BE  REQUIRED  TO
CONTAIN  A  DESIGNATED NUMBER OF SIGNATURES WHICH SHALL BE THE LESSER OF
FIVE PERCENT OF VOTES CAST IN THE LAST PRECEDING GUBERNATORIAL  ELECTION
OR  ONE  THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED SIGNATURES PER PETITION FOR THE OFFICE OF
STATE SENATOR AND SEVEN HUNDRED FIFTY SIGNATURES PER  PETITION  FOR  THE
OFFICE  OF MEMBER OF ASSEMBLY.  A SIGNATURE ON AN INDEPENDENT NOMINATING
PETITION MADE EARLIER THAN THE DATE  OF  THE  PROCLAMATION  REQUIRED  BY
PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL NOT BE COUNTED.
  (C)  ALL NOMINATING PETITIONS FILED PURSUANT TO THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL
BE FILED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS  OF  SECTION  6-144  OF  THIS
ARTICLE  WITHIN  FIFTEEN DAYS AFTER THE DATE OF THE GOVERNOR'S PROCLAMA-
TION AS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH (A) OF THIS SUBDIVISION.
  (D) A PERSON ELECTED TO FILL A VACANCY AT AN ELECTION HELD PURSUANT TO
THIS SUBDIVISION SHALL TAKE OFFICE IMMEDIATELY  UPON  QUALIFICATION  AND
SERVE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE UNEXPIRED TERM.
  S 2. This act shall take effect immediately.

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