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NY Supreme Court Judge orders Women's Equality Party removed from Nassau ballot; party announces appeal

Attorneys for the fledgling Women’s Equality Party said on Monday they plan on appealing a state Supreme Court judge’s decision to block the minor party from appearing on Nassau’s general election ballot.

Nassau Conservative Party chairman Daniel Donovan and other Nassau GOP activists had filed a lawsuit seeking to bar the Nassau Board of Elections from listing candidates under the Women’s Equality Party, a statewide party formed by Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo during his reelection bid last year.

They argued that “certificates of nomination” filed by the WEP party in Nassau were invalid because party leaders who certified the petitions were not authorized to do so under state law for failing to meet criteria designating them as party leaders, said John Ciampoli, a Republican election lawyer representing Donovan in the lawsuit.

State Supreme Court Judge Charles D. Wood, in a written ruling issued Monday, said the Women’s Equality leaders who issued the Nassau nominating petitions were “unable to meet the minimum threshold that they need to perform any operations" of the party,  including signing off on the petitions.

In his order, Wood notified the Nassau Board of Elections that they were  “directed, restrained and enjoined from placing the names” of Women’s Equality Party candidates on the general election ballot.

Several Democrats running for Nassau County Legislature --including incumbents Siela Bynoe, Delia DeRiggi Whitton and Laura Curran -- are also running under the Women’s Equality Party, a party Cuomo has billed as an effort to advance women’s causes, but critics have described as a ploy to lure women voters.

The lawsuit filed by Donovan and other Nassau GOP activists is one of several throughout the state attempting to keep the minor party from appearing on local general election ballots, and comes as competing factions within the Democratic Party attempt to take control of the Women’s Equality Party.

Steven C. Russo, an attorney with the Manhattan-based law firm Greenberg Traurig, who is representing the Women’s Equality Party, said in a phone interview that he has filed a notice of appeal, and has requested that the state’s appellate court hear the issue on Friday or this coming Monday.

“If it’s not done by Friday or Monday it’s going to be hard for the board of elections to program the voting machines... we really need to be done ASAP,” Russo said.

Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs called the judge’s decision “unfortunate” but said if the secondary party cannot appear on the ballot, it will not play a factor in the election.

“I think it’s a function of the Republican Party being very concerned about the election,” Jacobs said about the lawsuit. “I don’t think it’s going to result in a difference in the outcome of the election.”



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