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Long IslandPoliticsSpin Cycle

Court ruling a mutual setback for Conservatives, Working Families

Two ideological foes -- the Conservative Party and Working Families Party -- found common ground recently by jointly suing to change one of the aspects of the new voting system. The problem for both: When a voter markes the same candidate's name but on two ballot lines, the machines count the vote -- once -- but put it in the tally of the larger political party. (This wasn't a problem with the lever machines which prevented double-votes from going through).  Thus minor parties could lose votes toward preserving their standing status on the ballot.

A court injunction has now been refused in the case -- a setback for the odd-coupling of parties, although merits of the case have yet to be ruled upon. Dan Cantor, the WFP's executive director, sent around a missive that stated in part:

"This is obviously a crucial problem in the Gubernatorial race. If someonefills in both the D and WF ovals for Cuomo, it won’t count towards our 50,000 vote requirement.

"How serious a problem will this be? Much worse that we thought. In Connecticut, where they have the identical system, roughly HALF of the votes that were cast for the WFP in the two towns for which evidence was submitted were ‘double votes.’”

“But unlike the brilliant ruling here, in Connecticut the votes are allocated to the minor party, on the view that as the minor party’s existence is at stake it is fairer to count the votes towards their total.”

“Also, unbelievably, the Judge here ruled that the Board of Elections does not need to keep track of the number of double votes. It may be that the greater familiarity with minor parties in New York means the double-vote problem won’t be as large here, but one surely wouldn’t want to bet the farm, or the party, on it.”

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