ALBANY – State Senator George Borrello is blasting a just past measure that changes New York’s election law allowing a political candidate charged in a crime to be removed from a ballot, and replaced with a candidate from the same political party.
The state Senate and Assembly approved legislation Monday to allow candidates to decline their spot on the ballot if they’ve since been charged with or convicted of crimes.
The new law follows Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin’s resignation following his arrest on corruption charges.
With the legislation, Benjamin can decline his party’s nomination and remove himself from the June primary ballot, something he said he intends to do.
The Democratic Party, and its committee on vacancies, would then fill Benjamin’s spot with a candidate of their choosing, a point in the law Senator Borrello warns against.
“In order to make way for a new hand-picked candidate, one-party-rule forced through a measure to change state election law to allow for the removal of Brian Benjamin from the June 28 Democratic primary ballot,” wrote Borrello in a statement. “Their actions are egregiously unethical and exemplify the type of craven schemes that have undermined the public’s confidence in government.”
Borrello goes on to say that state law allows candidates for lieutenant governor to run and win independently from candidates for governor in the primary, and this change is unfair for others.
“There are two additional candidates for lieutenant governor on the ballot who have adhered to the law, worked to secure the needed signatures and who offer voters viable alternatives,” continued Borrello. “There is no justification for allowing party bosses to manipulate the process, just weeks from the primary election. A recent poll showed that a majority of New Yorkers feel the state is going in the wrong direction. Today’s actions will only provide them further confirmation.”
Governor Kathy Hochul told reporters that the bill is about ending dysfunction in Albany, denning that it was solely focused on her gubernatorial bid.