9/21/2010 7:11:00 AM,
Jeff D. Gorman
(CN) - The Conservative Party of New York State and the Working Families Party filed a federal lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections, claiming the practice of "fusion voting," which allows candidates to appear on the ballot multiple times for multiple parties, is robbing them of votes.
The problem, according to the parties, is that double votes for a candidate are credited to the party that gained the most votes in the previous election.
"In other words, if a 2006 voter voted for (Elliot) Spitzer on both the Democratic and Independence lines, the Republicans were credited with the vote, and if the voter voted for John Faso on both the Republican and Conservative lines, the Republicans were credited with the vote," the parties claim. "The Board simply ignores the fact that the voter has expressed her intent to support a minor party."
This takes on added importance, the plaintiffs add, considering the fact that a political party needs 50,000 voted to qualify for the following gubernatorial election.
The plaintiffs claim that their First and 14th Amendment rights have been violated. They are asking the court to issue an injunction forcing the election board to notify voters that they have improperly double-voted, or to count the double votes for the appropriate parties.