Henrietta, NY --- Making sense of the recent events in the now vacant 29th Congressional District seat is not easy…and more than likely impossible. In March Eric Massa resigned that seat and the NYS Board of Elections now tells me it formally declared that seat vacant. It is now up to Governor David Paterson to schedule a special election if the seat is to be filled before the end of the 2010 term and this week the Governor said he plans to schedule that election for November 2, 2010.
That is – not coincidentally – the day of NY’s General Elections. That plan would allow the winner of the Special to be sworn into Congress November 3rd; the winner of the General would be sworn in January 1, 2011.
I spoke to John Conklin of the NY State Board of Elections and he offers some insight into this situation, albeit more of the “what don’t we know” kind.
The Ballot: We do not know what the ballot would look like if the Special and General occurred on the same day. The congressional line on the ballot is Line #6 and Conklin wouldn’t even venture a guess as to where a special election line would be added. If the candidates for the Special and the General are the same that could simplify things. Then again it probably only complicates the situation because (in theory) voters still should have the choice of filling a vacancy for 2010, independent of their congressional choice for the 2011-2012 full term.