Governor Kathy Hochul is considering a significant shift in New York’s electoral calendar, as she reviews a proposal to move local municipal elections to even years. The measure, passed by the Democrat-controlled Legislature and backed by various suffrage groups, aims to boost voter turnout.
However, it has sparked considerable debate, with Republicans and local elected officials’ organizations criticizing the move. They argue that the change could dilute the focus on local issues and accuse Democrats of trying to manipulate election outcomes in their favor.
The legislation has highlighted differences in voter participation in odd-year versus even-year elections. Studies cited by election rights groups show that younger, poorer, and non-white voters are less likely to vote in odd-year elections compared to their older, wealthier, and white counterparts.
The bill’s proponents argue that moving local elections to even years, which typically feature presidential or gubernatorial races, could enhance voter turnout among these groups.
While the legislation has received support from various organizations focused on voting rights and accessibility, it has also faced opposition. Local government representatives fear that state and national politics will overshadow local issues in even-year elections.
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