Legislation introduced to remove Benjamin's name from primary ballot
Brenda J. Lyons is reporting for the Times Union state Senate leaders introduced legislation late April 29, that would remove former Lt. Gov. Brian A. Benjamin's name from the June primary ballot following his recent indictment on federal corruption charges. Benjamin, appointed lieutenant governor by Gov. Kathy Hochul in September, resigned in the wake of his indictment. The criminal charges include allegations that Benjamin lied on the forms used by State Police to review his background. His criminal case threw the Democratic primary off course because under state law there is no mechanism to remove a nominated candidate from the ballot this late in the process. The bill introduced last week would change that by amending state election law to allow a candidate to decline their nomination and have their name removed from the ballot, if they are convicted of or charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Hochul's and Benjamin's names will appear on separate tickets but the optics of having Benjamin's name still on the ballot when there are multiple challengers in the primary, including for lieutenant governor, has concerned the governor and her advisers, according to sources. The legislation introduced in the Senate, if signed into law by the governor, would still require Benjamin to sign a written declination to have his name removed from the ballot. Read the full story in the Times Union.