Court Rules Municipal Annexation Requires Special Election

The New York Court of Appeals ruled this week, in a case involving a contested annexation of land by one municipality from another that an informal petition by the residents of the area to be annexed was inadequate. In Matter of the City of Utica v. Town of Frankfort the Court found that the practice of the appellate divisions of waiving special elections in certain instances violated the clear mandate of Article IX § 1 (d) of the New York State Constitution which provides that annexation may not take place "until the people, if any, of the territory proposed to be annexed shall have consented thereto by majority vote on a referendum."

The Court concluded that the special election must be held "no matter how few eligible voters there are or how superfluous such an election might be."