January 16 Preliminary Injunction Hearing Could Decide Future of New York State Green Party

January 14, 2003

For Immediate Release

January 14, 2003

Contact Information:

Amanda Cooper, 212 998-6736

Mark Dunlea, Green Party, 518 286-3411

January 16 Preliminary Injunction Hearing Could Decide Future of New York State Green Party

Party Is Suing to Maintain Its Ability to Register and Organize Voters

The Green Party of New York State filed suit on December 10, 2002 to protect the right of voters to register with the Party on voter registration forms, and to prevent the state and county Boards of Elections from stripping approximately 30,000 New York State citizens of their identity as Green Party members on registered voter lists. On December 12, United States District Judge John Gleeson issued a temporary restraining order blocking the New York State Board of Elections and county boards of elections from stripping voters who enrolled in the Green Party, and two other parties facing the loss of official party status, of their party affiliation. The parties can also continue to register new voters as the case proceeds pending a preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for January 16, 2003. District Judge John Gleeson issued a temporary restraining order blocking the New York State Board of Elections and county boards of elections from stripping voters who enrolled in the Green Party, and two other parties facing the loss of official party status, of their party affiliation. The parties can also continue to register new voters as the case proceeds pending a preliminary injunction hearing scheduled for January 16, 2003.

“Despite the fact that we are the third largest political party in the country, the State of New York wants to deny voters the right to affiliate with the Green Party. We cant let that happen, because we are the only voice for our members and the only party for our issues,” says Mark Dunlea, an attorney and Chair of the State Green Party. 

The Greens are being represented in the lawsuit, Green Party of New York States v. New York State Board of Elections et al, by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law.

New York is one of the only states to impose such strict limitations on the rights of voters to enroll in the party of their choice when they register to vote, explains lead attorney Jeremy Creelan of the Brennan Center. If the Green Party loses this case, its members will be stripped of their party affiliation, new registrants will be unable to enroll in the party, and the party itself will be unable to organize its supporters to maintain their voice in the marketplace of ideas. That burden is unnecessary, and violates the rights of New Yorkers who seek to come together as a party to influence public policy.”

What:
Preliminary injunction hearing in Green Party of New York State v. New York State Board of Elections, et al.

When:
Thursday, January 16
11:30 a.m.

Where:
United States Courthouse
225 Cadman Plaza East
Brooklyn, New York 11201
Courtroom of Judge John Gleeson

Why:
If the State no longer registers voters as members of the Green Party, the Party will lose a crucial tool for effective outreach and organizing, and voters will lose their opportunity to express their political views through identification with a particular party and its platform. These rights are protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.

The Greens won a temporary restraining order to block two critical corollaries to the Greens loss of official party status, namely the purging of existing voter enrollment information from county board of elections records and the loss of the right to enroll voters as Green Party members upon registration. A preliminary injunction would continue to block the State of New York from further action against the party until the case reaches final judgment.

More information about the case is available in our press center. For questions or comment, please contact Amanda Cooper at (212) 998-6736 or Mark Dunlea at (518) 286-3411. The complaint is also available for download.