A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef and Senator John Flanagan to require villages to have run-off elections in the case of a tie vote passed the Assembly and the Senate recently, and will be delivered to the Governor for signature.
In recent years, Cold Spring, Irvington, and Tarrytown have held elections where candidates for local office received the exact same number of votes. In all cases, the winner was determined by some game of chance – a coin toss or drawing straws or picking collar stays.
“Gambling to determine the outcome of an election is never an acceptable choice,” said Assemblywoman Galef. “Election law should protect our most fundamental right as citizens – to vote for the person who will represent our interest in the government. This reform assures that right will be protected.”
"This legislation will ensure that the voice of the people is truly heard. Our democracy is built on the premise that a vote is a right and a privilege and there must be a mechanism in place to break ties when they occur. I was happy to join with Assemblywoman Galef in passing this
important legislation to preserve the sanctity of our elections," stated Senator Flanagan, Chairman of the Senate Elections Committee and the Senate sponsor of the legislation.
Nicola Coddington, a trustee in the Village of Irvington agrees, “As someone who has advocated for voting rights and election reform, as well as someone personally involved in a tied election, I see this reform as a victory for the rights of voters in villages across the state.”
The legislation stipulates that in the event of a tie at a village election, a run off election shall be conducted. The run-off election must be held on the first Tuesday at least ten days after the final certification of the tie result. The legislation also sets forth the requirements regarding candidate name placement on the ballot. It also provides the regulations regarding the waiver of a run-off election if all the candidates opt for the candidate selection by lot.