A New York Federal District Court judge held a short-notice hearing on Tuesday afternoon in relation to a lawsuit filed yesterday against the state by dozens of New York voters, alleging that their registrations in the Democratic party had been purged or altered, preventing them from voting in today’s presidential primary. The lawsuit, which claims that voters inexplicably dropped from the voter rolls are being denied their constitutional rights, called on the judge to instate a hearing process by which New Yorkers who believe their registration has been wrongfully purged might defend themselves. “Usually what happens is the Board of Elections takes your provisional ballot, and checks it against the voter rolls. If it it doesn’t match they throw it out,” said attorney Jonathan Clarke outside the courtroom this afternoon. “What we’re asking is that your vote stay counted until the Board of Elections can actually [prove you’re not registered].”
The suit also calls for an open primary, which would essentially eliminate the need to prove party affiliation in the first place. Under New York’s current closed primary system, only voters registered as either Democrats or Republicans can vote.
Judge Joanna Seybert on Tuesday did not rule to open the primary, nor did she issue an order preserving provisional ballots.
Instead, she ruled that every single county in New York State will have to defend its voter registration process, at a hearing to be scheduled for a future date. “The judge essentially kicked the ball down the road,” said reporter Jordan Chariton in a video update from outside the courtroom. “The motion was not dismissed immediately, so the lawyers now have to get representatives from each New York county into the courtroom at a later date to defend if and why there have been voter purges.”