Cuomo Needs To Listen To The Voices In All Of His Districts

One has to wonder, if Democrats weren’t already in control of the state Senate and had a chance to seize control, if a special election would have been called this year to fill the open position created by former state Sen. Catharine Young’s resignation.

The time to call for such a special election has come and gone with no action from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The governor could still call for the special election, but what’s the point now? The legislative session ends June 19, which means county residents have been without representation in the state Senate for perhaps the three most crucial months of the session when the budget is passed and when legislators pass a flurry of legislation that they have worked on throughout the session.

In the past, Cuomo had been loathe to call special elections because they give local political parties too much power rather than allowing voters to choose their own candidates while costing too much money. That is particularly true in a district that includes four counties. We note, though, that Cuomo has called for special elections in years where there aren’t regular state Legislature elections — like this year — because voters would be left with vacancies for too long. It is also curious that the governor called for 11 special elections as recently as last year in two state Senate districts and nine state Assembly districts. Voters in those 11 races were given the opportunity to vote in April to fill their vacant seat for the rest of the term and then vote for a new representative to fill the post for the full upcoming term last November.

That won’t happen for in the wake of Young’s resignation. Cuomo’s intransigence in calling a special election for the 57th Senate seat means Western New York voters who live the farthest from Albany have no voice in the state Senate. Local residents effectively had no say in the Senate on the state budget or on the host of issues still pending as the legislative session winds down.

Voters in the 57th Senate District deserved to have their voices heard.