Voting Blogs: Fusion Voting in Up Close: A Look at the Independence Party of New York | State of Elections

Last year Brad Smith provided this blog with a post that gives an overview of fusion voting laws in New York State. In this post I would like to look into a case study that, for some, sheds some doubt on the desirability of fusion voting laws. The Independence Party of the State of New York (IPNY) is a minor party that states on its website, “candidates and elected officials should be free to tell the voters what their views are, without dictates from political party bosses, special interest groups and restrictive party platforms.” With this in mind, in most elections the IPNY has preferred to endorse major party candidates under the fusion voting system, rather than nominate their own (they last endorsed Andrew Cuomo for governor, for instance).

Connecticut: Judge To Rule Tuesday On Whether Hartford Council Can Remove Registrars | Hartford Courant

A Superior Court judge is expected to rule Tuesday on whether the city council has the authority to remove Hartford’s three registrars of voters. Judge Constance Epstein will also decide whether to grant an injunction, sought by attorneys for the registrars, that would stop the removal hearings from going forward. The hearings are scheduled to begin Tuesday at 3 p.m.. A decision by Epstein on whether the hearings may move forward is expected by 2:30 p.m., the judge has said. The council in January began the process of seeking to remove the registrars — Democrat Olga Vazquez, Republican Sheila Hall and Working Families Party member Urania Petit — following problems on Election Day that caused some polling places to open late, delaying voting.

Connecticut: Council May Vote Next Week On Ousting Hartford Registrars | Hartford Courant

The city council is expected to vote next week on whether to proceed with a proposal to remove Hartford’s three registrars of voters from office. A resolution to be presented at Monday’s council meeting alleges that the registrars, entangled in a web of dysfunction, neglected their basic duties and made a series of errors that led to “the disenfranchisement of Hartford voters” in last fall’s general election. The meeting agenda and the resolution, which calls for their ouster, were released Wednesday afternoon. “A determination has been made that there’s a sufficient basis to move forward with formal charges,” said Council President Shawn Wooden, who is co-sponsoring the resolution along with seven other council members.

New York: Bill de Blasio’s Other Party | National Review

As recently as 1998, New York State’s Republican party controlled the governorship, a United States Senate seat, and the mayor’s office in Manhattan. Today, it is greatly diminished, with its sole beachhead of influence in the state senate, where it shares a majority with four independent Democrats. In contrast, the Working Families party (WFP), a 15-year-old left-wing, union-fueled group with just 20,000 members, now holds the whip hand over much of the dominant Democratic party in New York — and is already spreading its wings to other states. The WFP not only was a major force behind Bill de Blasio’s victory for mayor last November; it dominated the rest of the election, too. “They propelled all three citywide officials in New York City into office, and have a huge chunk of the city council allied with them,” says Hank Sheinkopf, a leading Democratic consultant who has worked for Hillary Clinton. “They are a real force.”

Voting Blogs: Connecticut Legislature Passes Bill Outlawing Fusion for New and Small Parties | Ballot Access News

On June 4, the Connecticut legislature passed HB 6580, which outlaws fusion unless both parties had polled at least 15,000 votes for one of the state statewide offices at the previous gubernatorial election. The bill passed the House on June 1 and the Senate on June 4. It also alters campaign finance laws. See this story, which is not accurate when it says the bill entirely bans fusion. “Fusion” means the practice of two parties jointly nominating the same candidate, so that his or her name appears on the November ballot with both party labels. Assuming the Governor signs the bill and it takes effect, it is probably unconstitutional. States are free to ban fusion if they wish, but they cannot do so in a discriminatory manner. For instance, the Third Circuit struck down a Pennsylvania law in 1999 that permitted fusion between two large parties but not fusion between a large party and a small party, in Reform Party of Allegheny County v Allegheny County Department of Elections, 174 F.3d 305.