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Conservative Party of New York State and Working Families Party v. New York State Board of Elections

The Conservative Party and the Working Families party -- represented by the Brennan Center for Justice and the law firm of Emery Celli Brinkerhoff & Abady -- filed a lawsuit challenging a discriminatory New York State policy for counting political party votes under a procedure known as "double voting."

Published: September 15, 2010

 

The Working Families Party and the Conservative Party --  represented by the Brennan Center for Justice and the law firm of Emery Celli Brinckerhoff & Abady -- have sued the New York State Board of Elections over a discriminatory New York State policy for counting political party votes under a procedure known as “double voting.”

Double voting results when a voter checks more than one box for the same candidate running on more than one party line. Under the state’s policy, the major party gets the full vote and the minor party gets no credit.

New York’s “fusion” voting system allows for the same candidate to run on both a major party as well as a minor party line. This allows voters to vote for a major party candidate while supporting a minor party. With the lever machines used in New York until this year, voters could not vote for the same candidate on both major and minor party lines.  With the new system, voters can “double-vote” in this way, without any warning that their vote will only count for the major party and without any opportunity to correct their ballot.

The issue is of particular importance to minor parties in New York, given that the results of the gubernatorial election are used to determine a party’s placement on the ballot for the next four years. Only parties who receive at least 50,000 votes are entitled to a guaranteed place on the ballot, and the order of their appearance is based on the number of votes that they previously received.

The policy unfairly penalizes both the voters and the minor parties they support. The State should take inmmediate action to correct this problem. To read the press release, click here.

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Selected Legal Documents

Complaint (9/14/2010)

Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/01/10)

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/01/10)

City Organizations of the New York Independence Party Amici Curiae Brief (10/01/10)

Declaration of Eric Hecker in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/01/10)

Declaration of Dan Cantor in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/01/10)

Declaration of Mike Long in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/01/10)

Declaration of Dan Wallach in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/01/10)

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/08/10)

Affidavit of Robert A. Brehm in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/08/10)

Affidavit of Todd D. Valentine in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/08/10)

Affidavit of Robert Warren in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/08/10)

Declaration of Kenneth Carbullido Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/08/10)

Declaration of John Poulos in Opposition to Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/08/10)

Reply Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/14/10)

Declaration of Dan Cantor in Further Support of Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/14/10)

Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction (10/18/10)

Motion to Dismiss (11/09/10)

Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (11/09/10)

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (11/22/10)

First Amended Complaint (12/20/2010)

Defendants’ Reply Memorandum of Law 12/01/10

Notice of Motion to Dismiss (1/10/11)

Defendants’ Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (1/10/11)

        Affidavit of Robert A. Brehm in Support of Motion to Dismiss (1/10/11)

Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (01/18/2011)

Second Amended Complaint (02/03/2011)

Defendants' Answer to Second Amended Complaint (02/18/2011)

Supplemental Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Motion to Dismiss (02/03/2011)

Defendants' Supplemental Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion to Dismiss (2/7/2011)

Order Denying Motion to Dismiss (02/10/2011)

Opinion on Motion to Dismiss (05/09/2011)

Consent Decree (9/8/11)

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Press

State Heeds Minor Parties on Voting-Machine Complaint (New York Times 9/8/2011)

Hearing Set in New York Case Over How to Tally Votes for Two Parties Who are Running the Same Nominee (Ballot Access News 12/02/2010)

Working Families and Conservative parties agree: New ballot favors the political establishment Op-Ed by Dan Cantor and Mike Long (NY Daily News 10/29/2010)

Minor Parties See Threat in Ballot Quirk (New York Times 10/25/2010)

WFP & Conservative Party Seek Injunction Against NYS Board of Elections Discriminatory Practice (Brennan Center Press Release 10/01/2010)

Working Families Party and Conservative Party...United? (NY Daily News 9/16/2010)

Perpetuating Power (TimesUnion.com 9/15/2010)

Before Vote, City Officials Fretted About New System (New York Times 9/15/2010)