Cahill Proposes an Amendment to the Constitution

Legislation gives the power of filling vacancies of certain statewide offices to the voters
February 16, 2007

Assemblymember Kevin Cahill (D-Ulster, Dutchess) today announced that he has introduced a constitutional amendment to allow for statewide special elections in the event of a vacancy for Attorney General or Comptroller. The measure is being carried in the State Senate by Senator Joseph Griffo.

“In recent weeks, many New Yorkers have expressed their displeasure with the process established by the State Constitution that determines the authority to fill vacancies in statewide elected offices,” said Assemblymember Cahill. “If a majority of New Yorkers believe that the Constitution is flawed then they should be offered the opportunity to remedy the situation. To that end, I have introduced legislation that would amend the Constitution to put the choice in the hands of the voters.”

The proposal will begin the process to amend the Constitution and change the public officers law to give the people of New York the right to pick the person to represent them in the event of any future vacancies. Proposed changes to the Constitution must first be passed by subsequent legislatures before being presented for voter approval as a question on the ballot in the November general election.

“Democratic elections are the bedrock of our society and we must do all we can to encourage full public participation,” Assemblymember Cahill said. “If New Yorkers see it fit to approve this measure, then that can only add to the vibrancy of our democracy.”