Like Suffolk, casino referendum goes under legal microscope

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Spin Cycle

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Ballot propositions — how they are worded and prepared — are under the legal microscope this week.

On Tuesday, New York’s top court effectively killed a referendum that would have asked Suffolk County voters to consider merging the offices of comptroller and treasurer, upholding lower court rulings that county officials improperly changed the language of the proposition after it was published in legal notices.

On Friday, a trial-level court in Albany will weigh a lawsuit that claims the wording of a statewide referendum to allow up to seven new casinos in New York was approved illegally in secret.

The casino referendum was changed from its initial version to say that gambling expansion would create more jobs, tax cuts and aid for schools. The referendum language originally adopted by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders merely asked whether voters would approve casinos.

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