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9 vacant seats in State Legislature and counting

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- A Buffalo-area Assemblyman accused of sexually harassing staffers is leaving a state Legislature that already has nine empty seats, and it's not clear if special elections will be held to fill the offices that represent more than 1 million New Yorkers.

The unusually high number vacant seats isn't expected to have a major effect on the day-to-day operations of the 212-member Legislature. But good government advocates say the empty seats mean a loss of representation in the districts, which stretch from Long Island to western New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo can call special elections for those seats before voters head to the polls in November, but he isn't obligated to. Cuomo has talked about the need to balance the cost of elections with the communities' rights to representation.