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Interesting New York Ballot Access Decision

Published on August 26, 2005, by in General.

On August 25, U.S. District Court Judge Nicholas Garaufis, a Clinton appointee, upheld a New York state ballot access law. Specifically, he upheld the law that requires a candidate for citywide office in New York city to obtain 7,500 signatures. When a candidate is seeking a place on a party primary ballot, he or she needs 7,500 signatures, or 5% of that party’s members, whichever is less. A Republican city councilman, Thomas Ognibene, tried to run for Mayor in the Republican primary, but he only collected 8,116 signatures, and only 5,848 were valid. He argued that the requirement is too difficult, but the judge upheld the law. However, the judge was critical of the law, and seemed to say that if it weren’t for bad ballot access precedents from the U.S. Supreme Court itself, he would have invalidated it. The case is Ulrich v Mane, 05-cv-3911, eastern district (Brooklyn). Thanks to Bill Van Allen for this post.

3 Responses

  1. Howard Hirsch

    A little late for Oggie to whine, no? Here’s a guy who came up through the hardball ranks to become city council minority leader. He knew everything about NY’s arcane ballot access rules (and probably was party on the other side in trying to disqualify opponents).

    While I think NY’s almost religious practice regarding ballot access (colored paper, restrictive witness rules, initialing errors and corners of blank remainder of incomplete pages, etc.) is utterly ridiculous, in this case Oggie clearly didn’t have enough good signatures and he knew it. The Bloomberg people were right to pursue their case against him.

  2. Joseph McNiesh

    You did not mention that an investment banker named Shaw tried to get the 7500 signatures for the Republican Primary. He only got a few thousand. He tried to give them to Ognibene, but it was too late, since he had to get the petitioners, the people who actually collected them, to OK their sheets. If it were up to me, I would make it a $500 filing fee or 500 signatures for any NY Citywide office, and $1000 or 1000 signatures for any NY Statewide office.

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