The judge presiding over Tuesday’s class-action lawsuit against the New York Board of Elections has moved the hearing to a later date, reports The Young Turks‘ Jordan Chariton, who attended the hearing.
The judge also instructed the plaintiffs to name all New York counties as defendants and to give the counties notice that they have to appear in court to defend their registration process. There are over 60 counties in the state of New York.
The state’s Board of Elections has defended itself against the suit’s claims of widespread disenfranchisement by arguing that it isn’t responsible for the registration procedures in the various counties, Chariton reports:
The judge told voters they could file a court order if they feel they have been disenfranchised, Chariton said, while lawyers for the plaintiffs have directed voters who are unable to vote in Tuesday’s primary because their registration was switched to a different party without their knowledge to file a provisional ballot.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers were pleased that the judge did not dismiss the suit, noting that Tuesday afternoon’s decision preserved the right to contest the primary’s results.
Watch Chariton’s full report on the lawsuit here.
As voters on Tuesday morning began casting ballots around New York in the state’s Democratic and Republican primaries, a federal court in New York City was scheduled to hear an emergency class-action lawsuit that was filed against the state’s Board of Elections alleging that thousands of New Yorkers will be heading to the polls only to discover they can’t vote.
Many New Yorkers—mostly registered Democrats—recently discovered their voting registrations changed without their knowledge or that their registration never went through in the first place, argued Election Justice USA (EJUSA), the group that filed the lawsuit alongside 200 voters.
These disenfranchised voters, numbering in the thousands, have been unfairly disqualified from voting in the state’s closed primary, argues EJUSA.
“Voters are frustrated, angry, and feel helpless,” said Shyla Nelson, spokeswoman for EJUSA. “We have heard hundreds of stories, with desperate pleas for help. This election season has excited and galvanized the voting public in unprecedented numbers. For these voters to be systematically and erroneously removed from the rolls or prevented from voting in their party of choice is devastating to them personally and has sent a wave of doubt and worry through the voting public.”
The group seeks an injunction that would immediately allow “tens of thousands” of potential plaintiffs to cast their votes in Tuesday’s primary, reports Gothamist. Such a blanket order would effectively make the New York primary an open one, according to ThinkProgress.
EJUSA was awarded a 9am hearing in federal court in New York City on Tuesday. By 11:15am the attorney general named in the case had still not showed up, according to a local reporter, and after EJUSA requested an emergency summons the hearing was rescheduled to 2pm. If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs any provisional ballots filed today will be counted, EJUSA says.
New revelations have lent support to the group’s allegations: WNYC reported Tuesday that over 123,000 Democratic voters in Kings County—a.k.a Brooklyn—had mysteriously disappeared from the Board of Elections’ records since November of 2015. (The deadline for New Yorkers to change party affiliation was October 9, the earliest in the country, and the deadline for first-time voters to register was March 25.)
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