Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Law Provisions Upheld. The Second Circuit upheld certain provisions of the New York Election Law in Person v. New York State Board of Elections. Person had sought a preliminary injunction, seeking to enjoin the enforcement of certain provisions of the Election Law. The District Court denied the injunction, and Person appealed.

First, Person challenged a provision of the Election Law that limited payment of any compensation to individuals hired to circulate electoral petitions. The Second Circuit noted that the provision at issue has long been interpreted in New York "as not imposing an impermissible burden on vote gathering because if does 'not prohibit[] the procurement of signatures wither by volunteers or paid workers.'" Individuals can still be paid on a daily or weekly basis, but their payment cannot be contingent on the number of signatures they get.

Second, Person argued that a prohibition on per-signature payment violated Supreme Court precedent. The Second Circuit joined the Eighth and Ninth Circuit in holidng "that a state law prohibiting the payment of electoral petition signature gatherers on a per-signature basis does not per se violate the First or Fourteenth Amendments."

Finally, Person challenged the assignment of official status only to parties whose gubnatorial candidates had, in the last gubnatorial election, received 50,000 votes violates his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights because it conditions official status on a party's candidate for governor rather than some other candidate that the party might have preferred to nominate and support. The Second Circuit noted that there was no constitutional right to appear on a ballot and noted that courts have upheld an array of restrictions on ballot access. In consonance with the precedents, the Court held that the provision did not violate Person's rights.

Although the decision says nothing about it, it appears that Mr. Person was a candidate for the Green Party.

The decision can be found here.

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