New York Voter Vigorously Argues that State Law, Requiring Membership in a Party More than Six Months Before a Presidential Primary, Violates State Constitution

Ballot Access News

Earlier this year, Mark Warren Moody, a New York voter, sued the State Board of Elections over the state’s unique law that prevents New York voters from voting in a presidential primary unless they had registered with that party six months and ten days before the April presidential primary. The case is pending in state trial court in Manhattan. Moody v New York State Board of Elections, 100678/2016.

The case is intensely fact-based, and points out that back in October 2015, the country had no idea that Bernie Sanders would be a strong contender for the Democratic nomination, and no idea that Donald Trump would be a strong contender for the Republican nomination.

The law was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973 in Rosario v Rockefeller. By a 5-4 vote, the majority assumed (in the absence of evidence) that the law is needed to prevent insincere voters who do not support a particular party from “raiding” that party’s primary. Moody criticizes the Rosario decision, but he bases his case on the state constitution. Moody failed to get injunctive relief earlier this year, but the constitutional issue is not settled yet. Here is his latest brief, filed October 26, 2016. Thanks to Cathy Stewart and Elizabeth Sandor for the brief.

UPDATE: Moody wants two of Donald Trump’s adult children to testify. News reports in the spring of 2016 said that they had not been registered Republicans in time to vote for their father. Moody hopes to emphasize that if even people that closely involved in electoral politics lost their presidential primary vote, that shows the existence of a big problem. See this story.

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