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N.D.N.Y.

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Fitzgerald v. Berman (Norman A. Mordue, N.D.N.Y. 1:02-cv-926)
As voters supporting open primary elections began a voter registration drive as part of their effort to create a new Non-Affiliated Voters Party, they filed a federal complaint challenging voter registration form language stating that only registered members of political parties could vote in primary elections. The district judge considered but denied immediate relief 15 days later. Two years after that, the district judge dismissed the complaint for lack of standing because all established parties wished to retain closed primary elections.
Topics: Primary election; registration procedures; pro se party.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Essenberg v. Berman (Thomas J. McAvoy, N.D.N.Y. 1:00-cv-317)
Applying the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, in light of pending state court litigation over control of a minor party, the district judge dismissed a complaint challenging the exclusion of a candidate from the party’s primary election. The court of appeals dismissed as moot an appeal filed after the election.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; matters for state courts; primary election; party procedures.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Sundwall v. Kelleher (Lawrence E. Kahn, 1:06-cv-1191) and Lanza v. Wart (David N. Hurd, 5:07-cv-848) (N.D.N.Y.)
A district judge overruled a minor party’s election-eve challenge to a requirement that persons signing ballot petitions provide accurate residential addresses in light of “the complicated ways in which villages, addresses, counties, and townships cross each other’s borders” in New York. A different district judge reached a similar decision one year later.
Topics: Getting on the ballot; pro se party; primary election.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Van Wie v. Pataki (David N. Hurd, 1:00-cv-322), Van Allen v. Cuomo (Gary L. Sharpe, 1:07-cv-722), and Van Allen v. Walsh (Lawrence E. Kahn, 1:08-cv-876) (N.D.N.Y.)
Two weeks before a presidential primary election, two voters filed a federal complaint challenging a law that allowed new voter registrants to enroll in a political party up to 25 days before a primary but did not allow a change in party enrollment for already registered voters to go into effect until after the next general election. One week later, after oral argument, the district judge dismissed the complaint, finding compelling the incentive to register new voters. Actions initiated in 2007 and 2008 were similarly unsuccessful.
Topics: Registration procedures; primary election; intervention; pro se party.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Price v. Albany County Board of Elections (Gary L. Sharpe, N.D.N.Y. 1:06-cv-1083)
The complaint alleged that New York’s excluding county party committee positions from absentee ballots in a primary election, to be held in four days, violated the First Amendment. The judge issued as limited a temporary restraining order as possible: he ordered absentee ballots prepared for the party positions, but he ordered them segregated so that a determination of whether to count them could be made after the election.
Topics: Absentee ballots; party procedures; ballot segregation; primary election.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Freeman v. McKnight (Gary L. Sharpe, N.D.N.Y. 1:07-cv-1123)
A candidate who earned more voting-booth votes than his opponent, but who trailed after absentee ballots were counted, filed a pro se action to nullify absentee ballots because their mailing envelopes had been discarded so timely mailing could not be verified. The judge determined that the plaintiff had not provided the defendants with proper notice or shown entitlement to immediate injunctive relief.
Topics: Absentee ballots; pro se party; enjoining certification.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Shannon v. Jacobowitz (David N. Hurd, N.D.N.Y. 5:03-cv-1413)
After votes were counted in a November 2003 election for a town supervisor, a challenger was ahead of an incumbent by 25 votes. There was evidence, however, that a voting machine registered only one vote for the incumbent because it failed to advance its tally with each additional vote. Supporters of the incumbent filed a federal complaint alleging that a comparison of the malfunctioning machine to another machine at the same location implied that the incumbent was deprived of approximately 134 votes. The district judge enjoined certification of the election and enjoined the challenger from taking office. In January 2005, the court of appeals determined that the district court’s interference with the election was error. The incumbent remained in office through 2007.
Topics: Voting technology; enjoining certification.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.

Available Online Only

Report to the Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules regarding the proposal to amend Rule 12.2. Procedures governing court-ordered mental examinations are presented as they have been implemented in a sample of districts with extensive death penalty experience.

Archival Copy on File

Cover letter to Chief Deputy Clerk of the Court Lawrence K. Baerman's transmittal of the Northern District of New York's Annual Report of the Civil Justice Reform Act Advisory Group to Abel J. Mattos of the Court Administration Division of the Administrative Office.

Archival Copy on File

The Northern District of New York Advisory Group's Periodic Assessment with data from 1993 and 1994.

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