ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — As local elections are underway we take a look at some election bills recently passed in the legislature. One bill would change standards for public financing of election campaigns and the other would change state and local elections to even numbered years. Both bills still await the Governor’s final stamp of approval.
Experts say moving state and local elections to even numbered years will improve voter turnout. If signed by the Governor, this bill would not impact New York City. Similar legislation has passed in California, Nevada and Arizona. “The law goes into effect January 2025, but elected officials in office in January 2025 will not be impacted,” said Ben Weinberg, Director of Public Policy at Citizens Union. He explained that elections after 2026 will be shortened by one or two years depending on the position, in order be moved to even numbered years.
This includes county executives, county legislators, different town offices but it would not impact DAs or judges. And another bill would change how the state matches campaign donations. “Currently only donations up to $250 are matched, and the logic is that you know, the whole goal of this program is to empower small donors over large donors that currently fund most campaigns in New York State,” he said.
“It’s really disappointing to see that the legislature made these changes at the eleventh hour of the legislative session,” said Joanna Zdanys, Senior Counsel in the Elections & Government Program at the Brennan Center for Justice. Zdanys said the changes will not empower smaller donors, “Small donors are far drowned out by the largest campaign donors in state election. We found that in 2022 just 200 wealthy mega donors out gave all 206,000 small donors combined in New York State.” New York has one of the highest donation limits in the country. We’ll keep you updated if the bill is signed by the Governor.