Smaller political parties can sue over a New York state law that they say is robbing them of votes because it lets candidates appear on the ballot for multiple parties, a federal judge ruled. Last September, the Conservative Party of New York State and the Working Families Party sued the commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections over its practice of counting votes when a ballot is marked multiple times.
“Fusion voting” lets candidates run on multiple platforms, but if a voter chooses a candidate on a two platforms, only the “first” party gets the vote.
“In other words, if a 2006 voter voted for (Elliot) Spitzer on both the Democratic and Independence lines, the Democrats were credited with the vote, and if the voter voted for John Faso on both the Republican and Conservative lines, the Republicans were credited with the vote,” according to the original complaint. “The Board simply ignores the fact that the voter has expressed her intent to support a minor party.” Since a political party needs 50,000 votes to qualify for a subsequent gubernatorial election, the lost votes can have a significant effect, the plaintiffs claim.
About a month after the filing of the lawsuit, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff denied the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction affecting the midterm elections, believing they “had slept on their rights by waiting until a mere six weeks” before November. Shortly after the midterm elections, the New York State Board of Elections moved to dismiss the complaint, and another third party – the New York Taxpayers Party – joined the original complaint.
Full Article: Courthouse News Service.