Kudos to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie for putting a hold on another scheme to use Democrats’ current power in Albany to extend their control of the state permanently.
Dems’ last dirty trick backfired big-time, as their effort to gerrymander Republicans into oblivion in the Legislature and the state’s House delegation ran afoul of the state Constitution and led to court-ordered new maps that are not only fair, but force many incumbent Democrats into competitive races, sometimes against each other.
We’d guess that bitterness over that debacle prompted an end-of-session drive to rewrite the rules for local elections (outside the large cities), forcing them to be held in even-numbered years. The obvious goal: to ensure that the electorate leans further left, as more liberals and progressives turn out when national issues are on the line.
That is, the aim was to boost the odds for Democrats in races for county executive, county legislatures and town supervisors etc.
Happily, The Post’s Zach Williams reports that Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, the bill’s sponsor, says Heastie doesn’t favor 11th-hour passage of an idea that comes out of nowhere.
Good: Republicans and the leaders of the New York State Association of Counties were howling about such a drastic measure getting rammed through without full discussion. The plan was to bypass the Elections Committee and have it voted into passage Tuesday.
For the record, Gov. Kathy Hochul wasn’t taking a stand after getting burned for signing on to the gerrymander ploy. “The Governor will review the legislation if it passes both houses,” read a terse email from her folks when we asked.
But it’s plainly a bad-government “reform,” making it less likely that local issues play the determining role in local elections. You’d have more voters who showed up just to vote for president or Congress, then guessed on the rest (if they even made it to the local races shown on the third or fourth page of the ballot).
For all the noise Democrats have made these last two years about “saving democracy,” the ones in New York seem all too eager to undermine it in order to increase their party’s power.
Of course, the story’s not over: Heastie might let the bill move forward when next the Legislature meets. So the best protection for New York’s democracy is to ensure the Democrats lose some of their power when you vote in November.