Assembly speaker calls for special elections - NEWS10 ABC: Albany, New York News, Weather, Sports

Assembly speaker calls for special elections


ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/NEWS10 ABC) - The state Legislature's top Democrat is calling for special elections to fill 11 open seats.

Two scandal-ensnared members of the state Assembly left this week, bringing the number of empty seats in that house to nine. Another two state senators left for other jobs.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Friday called for special elections as soon as possible, saying more than 1 million New York residents lack representation.

Under state law, the governor can call special elections to fill the vacancies, but he reiterated Friday on the radio show "Capitol Pressroom" that he's not sold on the idea.

Officials say holding a special election to fill the vacancies could cost as much as $50 million. But watchdog groups point out, not doing so means that more than one million New Yorkers aren't represented in one of the chambers.

Roger Schiera is the republican elections commissioner in Saratoga County says waiting makes it harder for them. The federal primary is in June, the state primary in September, and to further complicate matters, their budget didn't account for a special election. Still, Schiera says he supports doing it.

One of those vacant seats impacts the Capital Region area directly. The 113th Assembly seat was vacated by Tony Jordan, who is now the Washington County District Attorney. This means parts of Washington and Saratoga County don't have representation in that chamber.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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