Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York resigned, effective Aug. 24, 2021. His Lieutenant Governor, Kathy Hochul was installed as governor the same day.  

What are the succession laws and processes in other states?

Forty-five states have an official office of lieutenant governor. Some states have a lieutenant governor who runs on a joint ticket with party gubernatorial candidates, while other states elect the lieutenant governor independently. In Tennessee and West Virginia, the senate president (elected by the chamber’s membership) holds the dual title of lieutenant governor.

In North Carolina, for example, according to general statute 147.11.1, “The Lieutenant Governor-elect shall become Governor upon the failure of the Governor-elect to qualify. The Lieutenant Governor shall become Governor upon the death, resignation, or removal from office of the Governor. The further order of succession to the office of Governor shall be prescribed by law. A successor shall serve for the remainder of the term of the Governor whom he succeeds and until a new Governor is elected and qualified. (2) During the absence of the Governor from the State, or during the physical or mental incapacity of the Governor to perform the duties of his office, the Lieutenant Governor shall be Acting Governor. The further order of succession as Acting Governor shall be prescribed by law.”

From there, the president of the senate is charged with the duties of governor, followed by the state speaker of the house. This is generally the same process for the 44 other states with lieutenant governors, who must be able to fill in should the governor resign, be removed from office or pass away.

In Arizona, Oregon and Wyoming, the secretary of state is next in line to the governorship. In Maine and New Hampshire, the president of the senate is next in line for the governorship.


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