In Most Elective Bodies, Members’ Vote Required Unless There’s A Conflict

from Anthony Casale

In Most Elective Bodies,

Members’ Vote Required

Unless There’s A Conflict

To The Editor:

Recently the Otsego County Board of Representatives voted on a resolution regarding the issuance of New York State driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. I have no particular issue with those who voted yes and those who voted no.

I am, however, very concerned over those representatives who “abstained,” as reported by your newspaper and confirmed in the draft meeting minutes. In my view, elected legislators at the federal, state and local level have a duty and an obligation to stand up and
be counted on each and  every issue that comes before them.

It is widely understood in government circles that a legislator may only abstain from voting when faced with a personal or professional conflict. The rules of most state legislatures, including New York’s, make that  very clear.

Rule 5-2 of the Rules of the New York State Assembly includes this sentence: “A Member may abstain from a vote only on the grounds that such vote will constitute a conflict of interest.” Our State Senate Rules have a similar provision.

We deserve better from our elected representatives. Those three representatives who failed to stand up and be counted on June 5 should at least tell the public how they would have voted.

ANTHONY J. CASALE
Cooperstown


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