Paterson will leave upstate N.Y. district without a congressman 

New York’s 29th Congressional District has been vacant ever since Democrat Rep. Eric Massa resigned. And now the GOP-leaning seat will remain vacant until November. And possibly until next year.

New York Gov. David Paterson, D, has said he will call a special election Nov. 2 — the same day as the general election. And there is some disagreement within the Board of Elections, which has two Republican and two Democratic member, as to whether this is legal.

State law requires that special elections for Congress be held “not less than thirty nor more than forty days from the date of the proclamation.” Patterson would thus have to make his official proclamation in late September or early October for a Nov. 2 special election to appear on the ballot concurrently with the general election contest.

However, state law also stipulates that when a vacancy occurs in an election year, “a special election shall not…be called after September nineteenth of such year.” If Paterson makes his proclamation on Sept. 19, then the election would be held 44 days after the proclamation, which is not legal. If he makes it after Sept. 19, that is not legal either.

So Paterson is either planning an illegal special election, or he’s saying there will be a special election that isn’t really a special election — that there will just be an empty seat until a November general election fills it for a January inauguration.

Either way, this is a rather naked attempt to keep a Republican out of Congress by holding the district vacant.

shall  be  not  less
  than thirty nor more than forty days from the date of the proclamation.

About The Author

David Freddoso

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David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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