From New York LP chair Mark Axinn via LP blog:
Libertarian Party Candidate Files Lawsuit against NYS Board of Elections for Failure to Count Votes
Warren Redlich, the Libertarian Party’s candidate for Governor of New York in the 2010 election, today filed a lawsuit in Albany County Supreme Court against the New York State Board of Elections, directing the state agency to cease ignoring votes cast for the Libertarian Party.
This legal action affects all third party candidates running for office in New York, as it charges the Board of Elections with discrimination against independent candidates and voters in the manipulation of third party vote count returns.
Redlich asserts that the Board of Elections’ method of counting votes in New York ignores votes made for third party candidates by forcing multiple third party candidates onto the same ballot line, confusing the voters’ choice of candidate and illegally invalidating votes cast for the Libertarian Party.
Additionally Redlich asserts the Board of Elections violate the law by its practice of ignoring proxy votes cast by absentee voters, thus illegally rejecting votes made for the Libertarian Party by absentee voters.
Although not claiming enough votes to have won the gubernatorial election, Redlich’s lawsuit asserts that the Libertarian Party of New York obtained 50,000 votes, qualifying it for Party status under New York State law. Without justification, the Board of Election violated federal and state law by rejecting votes made for the Libertarian Party by the voters of New York once a major party candidate had been certified as winning the election.
New York Libertarian Party Chair Mark Axinn stated, “Only by requiring the Board of Elections to count every vote cast for every candidate can independent voters have their voice heard on Election Day.”
The case is scheduled to be heard on April 8.
And at Ballot Access News:
On March 9, Warren Redlich and Mark Axinn filed a lawsuit in state court against the New York State Board of Elections, over the ballot format in November 2010 and many previous elections. The lawsuit points out that section 7-104(3)(c), which describes the general election ballot format, says each party is to have its own column or row. However, in 2010, the Libertarian Party was squeezed into the same column or row as another political party.
The lawsuit, called Redlich v New York State Board of Canvassers, also explains that 7-104(3)(c) has not been followed in the past because the mechanical voting machines didn’t have enough space to give each party its own column or row. But, the lawsuit then explains, New York no longer uses mechanical voting machines, and therefore the ballot format used in November 2010 was illegal and the illegality had no justification. New York used paper ballots in November 2010.
The lawsuit asks that in future elections, 7-104(3)(c) be followed. Also, it asks that the court recognize that the New York Libertarian Party probably would have received 50,000 votes if the ballot had not been so confusing. To buttress that conclusion, the lawsuit also points out that the official election returns failed to record how many void votes were cast in New York city. The official election returns show 3,001 void votes for Governor outside New York city, but zero void votes within New York city. It is very likely that many voters voted both for Redlich and another gubernatorial candidate who was on the ballot in the same column, and these votes should have been recorded as void. Without an accurate record of the number of void votes, it is difficult to analyze what effect the ballot format had. The party received 48,386 votes for Governor, according to the official returns. It needed 50,000 to become a qualified party.