ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–After former Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin was arrested and charged with campaign finance corruption, Governor Kathy Hochul accepted his resignation. Even though he is no longer in office, his name will still be on the ticket come the Democratic Primary in June.
“The only way in which somebody can be removed from the ballot is if they die, or if they run for another office, or if they move out of state,” explained Susan Lerner, Executive Director of Common Cause NY. “And that leaves us with a situation where the voters in the Democratic Primary will be faced with a ballot that has a candidate who will not take office if they were to win the primary. That’s simply unfair to the voters.”
Lerner said if people vote for Brian Benjamin in the primary, they will have wasted their vote. Changes to New York’s Election law are now being called for.
“What we are suggesting is a special process that if a candidate is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, or is indicted, or resigns the office for which they are running for re-election, that they can be removed from the ballot.”
Assemblywoman Amy Paulin is advocating for this and is drafting legislation that is expected to be introduced on Friday. If it doesn’t work in this instance, she said passing this legislation will be beneficial in the future.
“We’re working out the last possible date that could happen and still conform to the other rules and regulations regarding the election,” said Paulin. “And we think it’s early May some time. Right now the bill draft says May 1, we may have some wiggle room to go to May 4. We are talking with the State Board of Elections to make sure we get it 100% right. But that’s approximately what it is. It’s a very tight timeline to address the Brian Benjamin situation.”