From the Free and Equal Elections Foundation:
September 9th, 2009- The Board of Elections in Suffolk County New York has ruled that the Libertarian Party candidates for three county offices will not be on the ballot come November.
This action by the Board of Elections means that voters will only see one candidate on the ballot in the races for District Attorney, Sheriff, and Treasurer. The local Democrat and Republican parties have cross-endorsed one candidate for each race.
"It is absolutely appalling that the voters in Suffolk County will have no choice on their ballot for these races," said Free & Equal Founder Christina Tobin. "The Democrat and Republican commissioners at the Board of Elections have determined that they alone have the ability to choose officers in Suffolk County, not the voters."
New York state petition law places tremendous burdens on Independent and Third Party candidates. The stringent requirements for nominating petitions stifle competition, and encourage bureaucratic interference. In the past, candidates have even been kicked off the ballot for little more than clerical errors.
Any individual voter can challenge the validity of a nominating petition in New York state. In Suffolk County on Long Island, the challenges came from Democratic Party operative and state committee member Rosemary Marchlowska.
To make matters worse, the Board of Elections of Suffolk County operated in near total secrecy.
The BOE refused to answer candidates’ questions, and only provided the information they were legally required to after a Freedom of Information Act request was filed.
The Board of Elections purposely ruled the slate off the ballot on Thursday, then refused to tell the candidates until Friday afternoon. This of course meant no action could be taken until after the long weekend.
"Unfortunately, the employees of the BOE in Suffolk county think they work for their Democrat and Republican masters. They don’t. They work for the voters of New York," Tobin said. "The actions of the Suffolk County Board of Elections are inexcusable. Hundreds of people signed a petition to see candidates other than the incumbents on their ballot. Now because of soviet-style partisan politics, they will be unable to vote for anything but the status quo."
The Free & Equal Elections Foundation remains committed to eliminating the onerous and archaic petitioning requirements that limit the choices of the voters of New York state.