New York state elections

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This is a general overview of the New York state elections.

The first state election was held in June 1777, and the Governor and Lieutenant Governor were the only statewide elected officials. Besides them, the Assemblymen were elected in the counties, and the State Senators in the senatorial districts.

Until 1821 a state election was held annually, lasting three days, beginning on the last Monday in April. The Assembly was completely and the Senate partly renewed. Every three years, a Governor and a Lieutenant Governor were elected, all other state officials were appointed by the Council of Appointments.

From 1822 to 1841, the state elections have been held lasting three days, beginning on the first Monday in November. The Governor and the Lieutenant Governor continued to be the only statewide elected officials.

Since November 1842, the election has been held on a single day, the date fixed on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November[1] (the date thus ranging from November 2 to 8). In 1844, four Canal Commissioners were also elected statewide. In 1846, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and two Canal Commissioners were elected. All other statewide officials were elected by joint ballot of the state legislature .

The Constitution of 1846 made most of the state offices elective by popular ballot. From 1847 on, the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Comptroller, State Treasurer, State Engineer, three Canal Commissioners, three Prison Inspectors, four judges and the Clerk of the New York Court of Appeals were elected statewide with different terms in office.

From 1870 on, a Chief Judge and six associate judges of the Court of Appeals were elected, and since then the Clerk of the Court of Appeals has been appointed by the Court.

In 1876, the offices of Canal Commissioner and Inspector of State Prisons were abolished, and their successors were appointed by the governor.

From 1914 on, the U.S. Senators from New York were elected statewide too.

Since 1938, the legislative term is two years for both state senators and assemblymen, so that state elections are held now only in even-numbered years. Until 1973, judges of the Court of Appeals were occasionally elected in odd-numbered years.

The Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Comptroller and the two U.S. Senators are now the only statewide elected officials. The offices of Canal Commissioner and Prison Inspector were abolished in 1876, the Treasurer and the State Engineer in 1926. The office of Secretary of State became appointive by the Governor in 1927, and the judges of the New York Court of Appeals in 1978.

The 1847 State election had the largest State tickets in New York history, having 12 candidates each. Ten statewide elective offices were filled in 1853, 1865, 1916, 1920 and 1934.


  1. ^ The New York State Register (1843; pg. 106; quoting from a "Law respecting Elections", passed April 5, 1842)

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