CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. (WETM) – The incumbent and candidate for Chemung County’s 6th Legislative District passed away over the weekend, putting into question what will happen with ballots on election day.
Brian Hyland, the incumbent for Legislative District 6 in Chemung County, passed away over the weekend at age 77, according to his obituary. Hyland was the Republican candidate for the District 6 seat, running against Conservative candidate Ryan Purvis. The district includes the Towns of Baldwin, Erin, Chemung, and Van Etten.
With the election just over two weeks away, this raises multiple questions about how voters in that district will choose their next legislator. Early voting starts this weekend, October 29, and absentee ballots have already been mailed to voters. Even as they mourn his death, local officials are meeting to set in motion the next steps.
The Chemung County Board of elections said the Republican Party is meeting to create a plan and to submit another name for the ballot. Fresh ballots are printed at the polls for early voters, and the BOE will have to mail new absentee ballots to voters with a letter of explanation. However, the exact details and timeline of the plan moving forward are still in the works.
Manchester explained that the Legislature is investigating a New York State Law that deals with vacancies caused by the death of a candidate.
“We do not have an answer at this time, but I know that we’re looking into it,” Chemung County Legislature Chair David Manchester said. “The legislative attorney and the local Republican committee for the 6th District and also the county-wide Republican committee is looking into what the steps are going forward.”
NYS Law says that a vacancy caused by the death of a candidate is not filled if the death occurred within a week of election day, specifically after 12 p.m. on the Tuesday before the general election.
“It is unexpected and it’s a terrible loss to the constituents and the legislators of the 6th district. Brian is a very involved legislator,” said Manchester. “He attended all of the town board meetings. He had a very good working relationship with all of the municipalities in his district, he will be surely missed.”