Albany, New York, December 14, 2020: Last week, letters addressed from Boards of Elections in Jefferson, Saratoga and Greene Counties were sent to enrolled Libertarians in those counties, informing them that their party enrollment had been changed to “Other”, and suggesting they change their affiliation to a party that would allow them to vote in a primary election.
“Because you are no longer enrolled in a political party with ballot status,” the Greene County letter, which was not printed on official letterhead, states, “you will not be eligible, with your current enrollment, to participate in primary elections going forward.” The Saratoga and Jefferson County letters used identical verbiage, informing recipients of deadlines and the process for changing enrollment.
In a 2005 decision in Green Party of New York State, et al. v. New York State Board of Elections, et al., the Honorable John Gleeson ruled that Boards of Elections must record the enrollment information of voters who have enrolled, or who enroll in the future, in any political party regardless of ballot status, to include voter notification and enrollment tracking. The decision, however, clearly did not authorize Boards of Elections to suggest to any voter that they change their party enrollment.
“Litigation compelling county and state Boards of Elections to leave intact all party enrollments, whether a voter’s chosen party had ballot status or not, was settled in 2005,” Cody Anderson, chair of the Libertarian Party of New York, explained. “Boards of Elections are instead making unauthorized changes to voter enrollments and actively dissuading voters from affiliating with the party of their choice. Furthermore, given the active federal litigation concerning the ballot status of the Libertarian Party and the unconstitutional actions of the legislature and governor, sending out these notices and removing minor parties from voter registration forms is entirely improper. Any Libertarians – or any other party’s enrollees for that matter – who receives such a letter from their local Board of Elections is encouraged to contact the LPNY at email@example.com, so that appropriate action may be taken against these blatant acts of voter harassment and disenfranchisement.”
1st Vice Chair
Libertarian Party of New York