Breaking: Federal Judge Denies TRO Challenging Closed New York Primary, Allows Lawsuit to Proceed


Some Voters Say Their Party Affiliation Was Changed Without Their Consent

A federal judge has just denied a request to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) against New York State's voter laws. Several hundred voters have said their party affiliation was changed without their consent, while some say they registered to switch parties but found their requests had not been processed.

Chris Geidner, Buzzfeed's legal editor, broke the news on Twitter:

LawNewz reports the judge "did allow the lawsuit to proceed and scheduled another hearing to take place at a later date."

New York has some of the most restrictive voting rules in the nation. Voters who wish to change their party affiliation must do so six month in advance. The state has a "closed primary," meaning only registered Democrats can vote for candidates running in the Democratic primary, and only registered Republicans can vote for candidates running in the Republican primary. Voters who register as independents or unaffiliated cannot vote in either primary.

ThinkProgress explained that the lawsuit, which was filed by Election Justice USA, asked "for an emergency declaratory judgment that would make Tuesday's primary open, meaning any registered New York voter could cast a ballot in either party's primary." That was denied.

In comments to ThinkProgress, New York state Board of Elections spokesperson Thomas Connolly confirmed that he had been receiving regular complaints about allegedly manipulated voter registrations — specifically complaints that party affiliations had been purged. 

But Connolly also said that each complaint he's followed up on has been due to a mistake on the voter's part. 

"I've yet to come across [a voter registration] that's been maliciously changed," he said. "There's always been a legitimate reason."

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has just released a statement saying his office has received 702 complaints:

Gothamist says if you're having problems voting, "You can go to your local Board of Elections, where a judge can hear your case and, if he or she thinks you should be allowed to vote, give you paperwork that you can bring to your polling place. Alternately, you can fill out a provisional ballot at your polling place, on which you can make your case for being eligible to vote. If you're deemed ineligible by the election commissioners tasked with assessing your provisional ballot, you should receive a mailing informing you of that fact."

You can report problems to the hotline set up by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, at (800) 771-7755; to the New York U.S. attorney's offices at (718) 254-6323 (for Brooklyn, Queens, Richmond, Nassau, and Suffolk counties) and (212) 637-0840 (for New York, Bronx, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, and Westchester counties); or to the FBI, at (212) 384-1000.

New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer has called for an audit, and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says he supports it, issuing this statement:


This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.


Image by Zainab Akande via Flickr and a CC license 

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