New York State Board of Elections Agrees to Changes in Vote Counting Practices

  • September 8, 2011

Settling a case brought by the New York Conservative Party, the Taxpayers’ Party, and the Working Families Party, the New York State Board of Elections agreed to alter the way in which double votes are counted. The lawsuit challenged the constitutionality of New York’s practice of automatically attributing double votes, which occur when a person votes for a single candidate on more than one party line, only to the major party. For minor parties, the consequences of this method are potentially fatal; parties need at least 50,000 votes to maintain a line on the ballot without resorting to petition. Under the agreement, voters who cast double votes will be alerted that they have done so, informed of how that vote would be counted, and given an opportunity to change their ballots. Reprogramming of the State’s voting machines will be implemented in time for the 2012 general election. Plaintiffs Conservative Party and Taxpayers’ Party were represented by ECBAWM’s Andrew G. Celli, Jr. and Zoe Salzman, along with co-counsel Cuti Hecker Wang LLP, and the Brennan Center for Justice, which represented the Working Families Party and the Conservative Party.

“State heeds minor parties on voting machine complaint,” The New York Times.