The New York state Senate and Assembly have approved legislation to allow candidates to decline their spot on the ballot.

The move allows former Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin to be removed from the primary ballot as Governor Kathy Hochul’s running mate.  Benjamin, who resigned under allegations of misconduct involving campaign funds, has said he will sign whatever papers necessary to remove his name from the ballot.

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Hochul told reporters prior to the May 2 vote that the bill is about ending dysfunction in Albany. She denied that it was solely focused on her gubernatorial bid.

There had been no prior mechanism for a candidate's name to be cleared from the ballot once ensconced unless the candidate died, moved out of state or was appointed to another office.

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The Associated Press reports Hochul has said Benjamin's April 12 arrest surprised her. She dismissed questions Monday about how carefully she vetted Benjamin, a former state senator, pointing to the tight timeframe she had to find a second-in-command after then-Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in August under sexual harassment accusations and she took his place.

The Democrat will not say who she is considering now as a running mate. A new Lieutenant Governor candidate could be named May 3.

Following recent scandals that have move the lieutenant governor into the New York Governor’s mansion, the second-in-command post in New York has become a much more important consideration.

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