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Audio Feature: WGXC Congressional Report

Dec 03, 2023 6:03 pm

Here is this week's WGXC Congressional Report, tracking the votes, statements, positions, and campaigns of the representatives and candidates for the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st Congressional seats in New York. Democrat Pat Ryan is representing the 18th Congressional District, Republican Marc Molinaro represents the 19th Congressional District, Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko represents the 20th District, and Republican Elise Stefanik represents the 21st District. Click here to listen to this report.

Joshua Solomon reports in the Times Union that Rep. Elise Stefanik is both challenging New York’s "no-excuse" vote-by-mail law in court while also trying to get Republicans to vote by mail. Stefanik is even making a case that voting by mail should not be allowed because a judge may later disallow it. Michael Y. Hawrylchak, an attorney for Stefanik and the Republican plaintiffs, said in a complaint filed Sept. 20 in state Supreme Court in Albany, “By encouraging supporters to lock in their votes by submitting mail-in ballots, they may risk the later nullification of those votes as invalid under the constitution.” Stefanik, and other Republicans are arguing that voting by mail is unconstitutional because it was passed as a law, rather than a constitutional amendment. Attorneys for New York Attorney General Letitia James said in their court filing, "There is no express language in the New York constitution that precludes early voting by mail.” Voting by mail has gone on since absentee ballots were allowed, and many New Yorkers voted by mail during the COVID-19 pandemic, with few problems. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Early Mail Voter Act into law two months ago. Read more about this story in the Times Union.

Joseph Konig and Kevin Frey reports in New York State of Politics that Congress is expected on Dec. 1 to vote to expel Rep. George Santos, the lying Long Island Republican under indictment for fraud. Santos faces 23 federal charges including for wire fraud, identity theft, lying to federal election officials, money laundering and stealing thousands of dollars from donors. Previously, a vote to expel Santos failed, as most Republicans said they were waiting for an investigation report. Local Rep. Marc Molinaro, a Republican, and Democrats Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan voted to expel Santos then, while Republican Elise Stefanik did not. Stefanik, a senior member of House Republican leadership, said on Nov. 29 that she still had concerns “about not respecting due process and I share many of my colleagues' concerns about that. I've always said we should let this play out and there's prosecution that's currently happening." Even without Stefanik, there appear to be enough votes to make Santos the sixth House member in U.S. history to be removed from office. Currently, Republicans hold a five-seat majority in the House of Representatives, and if Santos is expelled Gov. Kathy Hochul will call a special election that a Democrat is likely to win. Santos says the vote for his removal comes after another special day for him, saying, "It's also my 2-year wedding anniversary on Thursday. So it's kind of not cool.... So you know, I'm gonna try to just stick to our dinner reservation.” Read more about this story in New York State of Politics.

Joseph Konig reports for New York State of Politics that the U.S. House of Representatives 311-to-114 on Dec. 1 to expel Rep. George Santos. The lying Long Island Congressperson is only the sixth House member to be removed in U.S. history. Local Republican Marc Molinaro, and Democrats Paul Tonko and Pat Ryan, voted to get rid of Santos, while Rep. Elise Stefanik voted to keep him in the House. In October Santos pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including wire fraud, identity theft, lying to federal election officials, money laundering, and stealing thousands of dollars from his campaign donors. He's also been caught in hundreds of lies, some strange ones about how is mother died and what sports he played in college. Now there will be a special election in the Long Island and Queens district early next year, in a district that voted for President Joe Biden by 10 percentage points in 2020. Read more about this story at New York State of Politics.

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