Eight people have filed a lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, arguing his failure to set a special election date to fill the congressional vacancy violates the constitutional rights of residents of Staten Island and of southern Brooklyn. Cuomo is constitutionally required to call a special election to fill the vacated seat. The election must take place within 70 to 80 days of when he announces it. However, the governor has discretion as to when to call for a special election, which could prevent it from taking place until the next general election in November. Former Rep. Michael Grimm resigned last month after pleading guilty to felony tax fraud in connection to a Manhattan health food restaurant he used to co-own before being elected. As recently as this week, Cuomo said he had no timeline for when a special election would be set. The suit requests that the court compel the governor to set a special election.
… Castorina argues that the plaintiffs and others are “being denied their right to vote for a representative in the vacant 11th Congressional District in New York due to the failure of defendant to comply with mandatory provisions of Article I, Section II, Clause IV of the United States Constitution and the New York Public Officers Law Section 42 ,” according to court documents.
The section of the Constitution says the state executive must fill the vacancies but provides no timeline for doing so. The state law also cites the governor’s ability to set a special election.