NY Gov. Kathy Hochul Signs Into Law New Policy Making County and Town Elections More Accessible for All New Yorkers
For Immediate Release: December 22, 2023
ALBANY — New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed S3505/A4282 into law this afternoon, moving most county and town elections to even years and aligning with when federal and statewide races also are on the ballot. The new law reflects policy that is popular with voters across the state, and will make it more accessible for all New Yorkers to participate in local elections. Sam Oliker-Friedland, executive director of the Institute for Responsive Government, issued the following statement:
“We applaud Governor Hochul for signing this important bill. Moving town and county elections to even years is a common-sense step toward more representative elections and significant cost savings for election officials. This bill will bring more voters into the political process, including young voters and voters of color, and avoid extremely low turnout and unrepresentative results in local elections.”
Only 18 percent of eligible New Yorkers cast a vote in this year’s odd-year elections – compared to 45.2 percent in last year’s midterms and 61.1 percent in 2020. Data from California highlights how this new law will expand access: When the Golden State shifted town and county elections to even years, turnout significantly increased among young voters, Latino voters, and Asian American voters. The new law also is an important step toward cost-savings and increased efficiency for election workers. One study found that moving odd-year elections to even years in Washington, Montana, and Idaho (three states with a combined population much smaller than New York) could save roughly $30 million per two-year election cycle.
The Institute for Responsive Government is a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to ensuring state and federal governments work effectively for the very people they serve. The Institute for Responsive Government provides data, research, and expertise to elected officials in order to find practical policy solutions that make government systems more efficient, accessible, and responsive.