11 Vacant Seats In 212 Member Ny State Legislature

01.14.14 | Bob Price

Two more scandal-ensnared assemblymen are leaving a state Legislature that already had nine empty seats, and it's unclear if special elections will be held to fill the offices, which represent an estimated 1 million-plus people. The 11 vacant seats aren't expected to have a major effect on the day-to-day operations of the 212-member Legislature, in which legislative leaders keep tight control over the flow of business. But good-government advocates were concerned about the losses of state senators and Assembly members as they began their regular legislative session Monday. Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, said the empty seats could affect votes on controversial issues and translate into losses of representation in those districts, which stretch from Long Island to western New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo can call special elections for those seats before voters head to the polls statewide in November, but he is not obligated to. Special elections also can be a financial drain on political parties, and their outcomes are notoriously hard to predict because turnout tends to be low.