“‘Unconstitutional’ New York primary write-in rule takes center stage in Second Circuit”

Courthouse News:

A provision of New York State’s election law is “an unconstitutional infringement” on residents’ right to vote, according to a local elected official, who pleaded to a Second Circuit panel on Thursday to revive her suit challenging the rule.

Grand Island, New York Town Clerk Patricia Frentzel, a Republican, claims that she was cost votes in the 2023 primary election by the supposedly unjust law. Joining Frentzel in the lawsuit is a group of Working Families Party voters, who say their votes for Frentzel were tossed because of it.

The rule in question states that “a write-in ballot cast in a party primary for a candidate not enrolled in such party shall be void and not counted.”

In addition to raising concerns of constitutionality, the plaintiffs claim that this rule could allow party leaders to manipulate the way votes are counted by, for example, booting a candidate out of the party prior to a primary. In this instance, the plaintiffs claim that voters wouldn’t be able to cast votes for the now-partyless candidate — doing so would void their ballot.

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