Local elections will be moved to even-numbered years

Rescheduling local elections

Rescheduling local elections

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — New law will move many local elections to even-numbered years.   

A new law, signed by Governor Kathy Hochul just before Christmas, will move certain county and town elections to even-numbered years. The transition will begin in 2025, but between now and then, a lot of work is being done at local county Board of Elections to make the switch. 

Despite objections from Republicans and the State Association of Counties, Governor Hochul signed the law, she said, to ensure more public participation in local elections.  

“This is going to mostly impact the county legislature, the county executive to a lesser degree, and town boards and town supervisors,” says Lisa Nicolay, the Republican Election Commissioner for Monroe County.

It’ll put those races on the same ballot as state and federal races. The switch to get them from the odd to the even years will begin in 2025.

“When it does affect them, a lot of them are going to have to run for one year term to get on that cycle,” explains Nicolay.  

Here’s where things get a bit confusing: The change does not apply to city or village elections, or races for county clerk, sheriff, district attorney, or judge. A constitutional amendment would be required to shift those particular races to even-numbered years. And while the governor says she would support it, a bill has not yet made it to the floor in the state legislature. 

The work to make the current changes for races that are impacted is already underway. As a voter, you’ll notice the minute you’re handed a ballot. 

“Simple things, like, we have paper ballots, you can’t fit that many races on a paper ballet,” explains Nicholay. “So, New York State says, ‘Fine, you go to a two-page ballot with a perforation down the middle.’ We’ve never, I’ve never been here when we’ve had to do that,” explains Nicolay. 

After 2024’s presidential election, Monroe County is planning to switchover to new voting machines that display all voting options on a screen which could make the process easier for voters.