Assembly speaker calls for special elections

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/NEWS10 ABC) – The state Legislature's top
Democrat is calling for special elections to fill 11 open seats.

Two scandal-ensnared members of the state Assembly left this week, bringing
the number of empty seats in that house to nine. Another two state senators left
for other jobs.

State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver on Friday called for special elections
as soon as possible, saying more than 1 million New York residents lack
representation.

Under state law, the governor can call special elections
to fill the vacancies, but he reiterated Friday on the radio show “Capitol Pressroom”
that he's not sold on the idea.

Officials say holding a special election to fill the
vacancies could cost as much as $50 million. But watchdog groups point out, not
doing so means that more than one million New Yorkers aren't represented in one
of the chambers.

Roger Schiera is the republican elections commissioner in
Saratoga County says waiting makes it harder for them. The federal primary is
in June, the state primary in September, and to further complicate matters, their
budget didn't account for a special election. Still, Schiera says he supports
doing it.

One of those vacant seats impacts the Capital Region area
directly. The 113th Assembly seat was vacated by Tony Jordan, who is now the Washington
County District Attorney. This means parts of Washington and Saratoga County
don't have representation in that chamber.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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