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Section 5 Preclearance and Holding a Special Election on the Same Day as a General Election

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
September 3, 2015
Available Online Only

Barron v. New York City Board of Elections (Raymond J. Dearie, E.D.N.Y. 1:08-cv-3839)
A federal complaint sought a court ordered special election at the time of the general election to fill out the last two months of a vacancy in the state’s assembly. The complaint included a claim that failure to fill the final two months had not been precleared pursuant to section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The district judge denied the plaintiffs immediate relief because the candidate that the plaintiffs supported was running unopposed for the seat, so omission from absentee ballots would not be injurious. A three-judge district court found that section 5 preclearance was not required for the unusual circumstances.
Subject: Election dates. Topics: Getting on the ballot; section 5 preclearance; three-judge court; laches; matters for state courts.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.