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Williams v. Salerno

June 10, 1986

JOHN WILLIAMS, NEAL ROSENSTEIN, URSULA ABRAMS, MARIANNE MORRIS, DOMINICK PESOLA, PAUL SEDITA, NOAH KAUFMAN, MARGARET O'HANLON, JENNIFER WILLIAMS, CARLA RICE, SABRINA MARSHAL, DINAH FIESKE, JILL NAGLE, LAUREN SUPRANER, JEFF HETTINGER, ON BEHALF OF THEMSELVES AND OTHER PERSONS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLEES,
v.
GEORGE D. SALERNO, R. WELLS STOUT, DONALD RETTALIATA AND WILLIAM H. MCKEON, AS COMMISSIONERS OF THE NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS, ANTONIA D'APICE AND MARION OLDI, AS COMMISSIONERS OF THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, THE WESTCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, DEFENDANTS, ANTONIA D'APICE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT, MARION OLDI, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE



Antonia D'Apice appeals an order entered in the Southern District of New York (Carter, D.J.) enjoining the defendants from: 1) denying the right to register to vote to any student at the State University of New York at Purchase on the ground that a campus dormitory may not be considered, a fixed, personal, or principal home; 2) denying the right to register to vote to any student living on a college campus in Westchester County who files a timely application that contains all the required information for so long as the Commissioners of the Westchester Board of Elections cannot agree as to whether such student is entitled to register; 3) administering a questionnaire or form of inquiry to registration applicants unless the Commissioners of the Westchester Board of Elections agree to do so. Affirmed.

Author: Altimari

Before: MANSFIELD, PIERCE and ALTIMARI, Circuit Judges.

ALTIMARI, Circuit Judge:

A century ago the little known American writer R. L. Sharpe made the following poetic observation:

Each is given a bag of tools,

A shapeless mass,

A book of rules;

And each must make

Ere life is flown,

A stumbling-block

Or a stepping-stone.

In the instant case we are presented with two Commissioners of the Westchester County Board of Elections, Marion Oldi and Antonia D'Apice, who were given the public trust, a stack of registration applications, and the New York Election Law. From these elements Commissioners Oldi and D'Apice have constructed an impasse so firmly rooted in an unyielding foundation of petty party politics as to require the intervention of the federal judiciary. That intervention took the form of an injunction issued by the District Court for the Southern District of New York, entered virtually on the eve of the 1985 general election. Commissioner D'Apice now appeals from that order.

BACKGROUND

The Westchester County Board of Elections (the "Board") is composed of two commissioners, one from each of the two major political parties. Commissioner Oldi is the current Democratic appointment to the Board. ...


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