Saturday, May 19, 2018

NY Election Petition Witness-Residency Rule Requirement Held Unconstitutional

U.S. Magistrate Steven Gold has held that the New York Witness-Residency Requirement of Election Law § 6-140(1)(b) is Unconstitutional.

The Case 1:16-cv-03054-SMG:


FREE LIBERTARIAN PARTY, INC., a New York Not-for-Profit Corporation doing business as the Libertarian Party of New York (LPNY) and acting as an independent body under the name of the Libertarian Party; and WILLIAM REDPATH, a Virginia Resident.

Plaintiff William Redpath (“Redpath”) is a Virginia Resident and a Member-at-Large of the National Committee of the Libertarian Party. As a Resident of Virginia, Redpath is not Registered to Vote in New York. When Redpath did Circulate Petitions on behalf of LPNY in New York, he could not Witness the Petition Signatures. The Signatures were instead Witnessed by someone else working alongside of him.


ANDREW J. SPANO, GREGORY P. PETERSON, PETER S. KOSINSKI, and DOUGLAS A. KELLNER, in their Official capacities as Commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections.

This Case arises out of the 2016 Election Cycle in the State of New York. Plaintiffs contend that their First Amendment Rights were and continue to be Violated by a New York Election Law that provides that only Persons who are “duly qualified voter[s] of the State of New York” may Witness Signatures on Nominating Petitions.


Having found that the Witness-Residency Requirement in section 6-140(1)(b) is not narrowly tailored and is unconstitutional, plaintiffs’ Motion for Summary Judgment is Granted and Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment is Denied. Counsel shall attempt to Agree on the Terms of a Declaratory Judgment and Permanent Injunction consistent with this Opinion, with Defendants of course reserving their Right to Appeal, and shall submit their Proposal to the Court by Friday, May 25th, 2018.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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