Newsday’s Dan Janison reports that “nonprofit groups are promoting the relaunch of a Web app they say is aimed at helping Long Islanders and New York City residents report poll problems on Election Day.” The app, called PollWatchUSA, is a crowd-sourcing tool.
Common Cause and the New York Civil Liberties Union are coordinating the effort with other web entities.
The Citizens Union publication Gotham Gazette has published a detailed story on how few New York legislative districts are seriously contested this year.
According to Professor Gerry Benjamin of SUNY New Paltz,”either one party is so dominant in a district that it discourages opposition, or the incumbent has acquired so many resources that it’s daunting for opponents to run…resource gathering has more to do with discouraging competition than actually campaigning.”
This is a well done article
The Glen Falls Post Star opposes Prop 1 in today’s editorial, calling the measure “a tool for political parties and incumbent legislators to keep power that should be held by the citizens of the state. It is being promoted as reform, but unfortunately does not deserve the name. It should be defeated.”
Jimmy Vielkind covers the debate over the redistricting amendment against other issues in next week’s elections and the Governor’s role (or lack of it) in the amendment debate. Yesterday was a busy day for opponents. A rally of elected officials was organized against the amendment, featuring Congressman Hakeem Jeffries who was allegedly denied the chance to run for the Assembly in 1992 after this home was drawn of out a district he planned to run in. This article was published in Capital New York.
The Livingston County Board of Supervisors has chosen not to reappoint the Democratic Election Commissioner, Laura Schoonover, for another four-year term, despite her being the unanimous choice of the Democratic County Committee.
Read more: http://www.dansvilleonline.com/article/20141023/News/141029855#ixzz3HNRcXtEQ
This blog will also publish timely election law reports from the state courts.
Thanks to Jaspan Schlesinger attorney Anthony Bagnuola, we are presenting a recent case from Long Island, Hensley v. Matthews, et al. (Suffolk Co. Index No. 20602/2014).
In this case, the Suffolk County Board of Elections invited candidates to inspect the voting machines for the November 4 general election between Oct. 20 and Oct. 24, 2014. In the letter, candidates were told that sample ballots would be available for review at that time. However, when Paul Hensley, a candidate for District Court Judge, appeared on Oct. 20 and objected to the form of the ballot, the Board failed to take any action. Mr. Hensley’s objection, and the subsequent lawsuit, arose from the fact that blank spaces were placed between candidates’ names (District Court Judge is a “pick any 3” race). The result, plaintiffs argued, was that the configuration of the candidates’ names created the optical impression that the first two candidates were running unopposed (indeed, they each appeared alone in the first and second columns) and that the third judgeship should be selected by voters from a collection of five candidates crammed into a third and fourth columns.
An Order to Show Cause was fled seeking relief under Article 7, challenging the form of the ballot. The Order was signed by Acting Supreme Court Justice Behar, and made returnable before Justice Peter Mayer on October 23, 2014. However, due to the nature of the race, Justice Mayer and his Suffolk County colleagues recused themselves, and the matter was transferred to Justice Mary Smith in Westchester County. The case proceeded at a rapid pace over approximately 48 hours and resulted in the attached decision. Suffolk_order (1)
An editorial published by the Journal News, a lower Hudson Valley paper, discusses the semantics v. the reality of the redistricting reform amendment. The editorial includes its own link to a recent debate between Susan Lerner of Common Cause (opposing the amendment) and Dick Dadey of Citizens Union, who supports the measure.
While I might not have time or space to publish every editorial on the amendment (and now there are so many), I will blog the more indepth ones.
SUNY New Paltz Professor Gerald Benjamin, one of New York State’s leading government experts, tells us that the redistricting commission amendment is not good enough and should be rejected. Professor Benjamin does leave hope for a silver lining if the measure is rejected. Voters will be asked whether New York State should convene a constitutional convention in 2017. Perhaps a constitutional convention can do a better job creating a redistricting commission instead of what Professor Benjamin sees as a weak and less independent structure.
New York City Council Member Ben Kallos is introducing legislation to permit New York City residents to register to vote online, according to a New York Daily News article.
Senator Liz Krueger, a leading Albany reformer, has come out strongly against Proposal One, the redistricting commission amendment. Senate Democrats are also apparently coalescing against the proposal, with LATFOR Member Martin Malave Dilan also attacking the measure as phony. On top of that, the New York City Council Progressive Caucus has also released a statement opposing the measure.
Senator Krueger’s letter to “friends and colleages: can be accessed via this link: