Galef to Introduce Special Run-Off Election Legislation vs. Electoral Gambling

November 29, 2005

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef will introduce legislation that would improve New York State Election Law by ensuring that tied village elections are determined by means of a run-off election rather that a game of chance.

In just this past year, both Westchester and Putnam Counties have experienced tied results for village elections. In the Village of Cold Spring, the selection of a village trustee was determined by picking collar stays, a variation of the more well-known game of drawing straws. In the Village of Irvington, the race for mayor was decided by the draw of a coin.

"It is the voters that should resolve an impasse in a village election, not chance," stated Assemblywoman Galef. "This legislation would require another election to determine the real winner. Gambling should not be used to decide political races, and luck should not be a substitute for a voter will."

While villages in New York do have the opportunity to pass their own local laws to hold a run-off election after a tie, it is important for the state to ensure that the voting public has an impact in all elections – even tied elections – and that New York law reflect the principles of democracy.

Election Law for town elections and other elections except village elections already has provisions ensuring a run-off election in the case of a tie. Assemblywoman Galef’s legislation would realign Election Law for villages, changing it to conform to election precedents already provided for other elections.