Monthly Archives: October 2014

NEWSDAY: Non-Profits to Help Downstate Voters Report Poll Probems

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.

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Gotham Gazette: Voters Left With Very Little Choice This Year

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

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Glens Falls Post Star: Understand Ballot Proposals Before Voting On Them

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.”

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Jimmy Vielkind on the Redistricting Amendment balanced against other issues

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.

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Democratic Choice for Livingston County Elections Board Commissioner Rejected

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

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Litigation: State Supreme Court Decides Judicial Ballot & Voting Machines Case

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)

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The semantics vs. reality of Prop 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.

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