If you live in Albany, NY – heck, in most of the country, the election polling places this week will experience the sound of crickets, despite the fact that the mayor, president of the common council, and several other positions will be up for the vote.
Including two county coroners. Albany County is among 35 counties in NYS that have an elected coroner. “Although two-thirds of all New York counties follow a coroner system (including counties where the district attorney is the elected coroner), most of the state’s population resides in counties with medical examiner systems. Many major metropolitan areas — including Buffalo, Long Island, New York City, Syracuse, and Westchester — are overseen by medical examiners.”
And coroners are party affiliated, at least here. As a registered Democrat who hates the one-party Democratic party system here, I have traditionally voted for the Republican candidates, pretty much out of spite. For the first time since I’ve lived in Albany County, and that goes back to 1979, I’m voting for one Democrat, the guy I voted for in the Democratic primary in September, albeit on the Working Families line this time. (New York State allows for cross-endorsements.)
I’m HOPING, though, that there will be a larger than average turnout because of the statewide Constitutional Convention vote, one of three items on the back side of the ballot. I went to a debate about the issue last week between women from the League of Women Voters (pro) and the NYCLU (con). Even the LWV advocate admitted that the organization’s support is a combination of hope and frustration with the status quo.
The LWV rep said that, at 55,000 words, far longer than the US Constitution or most state constitutions, the New York State constitution could lose about 20% of its content and have zero impact on anything; regulations superseded by others but the old rules were never removed, for instance.
Watch Constitutional Convention 2017 Explained. A YES vote means that candidates, three per state senate district plus 15 statewide delegates – (63X3)+15= 204 delegates – will be chosen in November 2018. The legislature could theoretically pick the 15 themselves.
Anyone, theoretically, could run, but it would be much harder, as it now stands, for someone not affiliated with a political party to get on the ballot. In the first three months of 2019, the state legislature could theoretically change some of the rules – make three districts within the state senate districts, instead of three at large seats, e.g.
Will state legislators run? They could, but they would be on the ballot twice, once for their legislative slot and one as a delegate, and quite possibly get paid for both. How would the voters feel about that?
Here’s an NYCLU piece against ConCon. Because whatever gets passed in the ConCon ultimately has to be ratified by the voters in 2019, I’m only slightly concerned about some large disruption of rights.
However, the possibility exists of one bill bundling “amendments into ‘the big ugly’ which is what many call the annual end-of-session bill. It lumps scores of often-unrelated legislative compromises into one up-or-down vote. It is the epitome of the worst Albany horse-trading.” That happened at the 1967 convention, which is why it was shot down by the voters.
Presumably the delegates will be more savvy and put up a half dozen packages on different topics, such as election reform and ethics. That is if ConCon passes, which I still hope it does not.