Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MULHOLLAND v. CAREY

September 8, 1997

MARY MULHOLLAND, MICHELE A. DANELS, CRAIG A. SEEMAN and BENNIE MENDEZ, as officers of the Independence Party County Committee of Kings County and INDEPENDENCE PARTY COUNTY COMMITTEE OF KINGS COUNTY, Plaintiffs, against WEYMAN A. CAREY, RONALD JAMES D'ANGELO, FREDERIC UMANE, DOUGLAS A. KELLNER, FERDINAND C. MARCHI, SEYMOUR SHELDON, GERTRUDE STROHM, VINCENT J. VELELLA, KATHLEEN WAGNER and PAUL MEJIAS, Commissioners of Elections constituting the BOARD OF ELECTIONS IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK, CAROL BERMAN, OWEN SMITH, EVELYN AQUILA and HELEN DONOHUE, Commissioners of Elections constituting the NEW YORK STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS and DENNIS VACCO, Attorney General of the State of New York and CHARLES F. KNAPP, GAYLE E. WEINTRAUB, ALIDA SIEGEL, objectors and JACK R. ESSENBERG, Chairperson and JAMES F.X. DOYLE, Secretary of the INDEPENDENCE PARTY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK STATE COMMITTEE and JOAN MILLMAN, JOHN JOHNSTON and ALBERT ASFAZODOUR, candidates, Defendants.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: BLOCK

 BLOCK, District Judge:

 I. BACKGROUND

 This is the second request for preliminary injunctive relief brought by plaintiffs. In a Memorandum and Order issued on February 19, 1997 ("February Order"), the Court rejected plaintiffs' request for an order directing the New York City Board of Elections ("Board of Elections") to place plaintiff Craig A. Seeman on the ballot as a candidate of the Independence Party for a special election held on February 18, 1997. The February Order concluded that the State Committee of the New York Independence Party ("State Committee") acted in accordance with its rules and the New York Election Law in deciding not to nominate any candidate to represent the Independence Party in the special election. Most relevant to the present motion, the February Order noted that since plaintiffs had admittedly failed to legally establish a county committee under New York Election Law § 2-104(3), the State Committee had discretion under its rules to choose not to nominate candidates for the special election.

 A. Formation of the New York State Independence Party

 In order to become a recognized political "party" in the State of New York, an organization "at the last preceding election for governor [must have] polled at least fifty thousand votes for its candidate for governor." New York Election Law § 1-104(3). Based on the votes polled in the 1994 gubernatorial election, the Independence Party thereupon became a recognized political party under the Election Law. As such, the Independence Party was empowered to form a state committee. The first meeting of the New York Independence Party State Committee was held on September 19, 1996.

 B. County Committees and the 25% Rule

 Establishing a recognized political party also entitles that party to form county committees throughout the State. The creation of such county committees is governed by Election Law § 2-104. Section 2-104(3) [hereinafter "25% rule"] provides that "a county committee of a party shall be legally constituted if twenty-five per centum of the committeemen required to be elected in such county . . . have been elected."

 Although a recognized party has the legal authority to create county committees, it is possible that, in certain counties, a minor party may not have enough members to satisfy the 25% rule. Section 2-104(1) determines the total number of seats for a party's county committee by, at a minimum, establishing two seats for each election district within the county. For example, if a particular county has 200 election districts, § 2-104(1) would mandate that the county committee have at least 400 committee persons. In order to form a legally constituted county committee, therefore, there would have to be at least 100 committee persons. Thus, if a minor party has only enrolled a few voters in that county, it may be either legally or pragmatically impossible to form a county committee. Plaintiffs contend that they fall into that category, as they have been unable to constitute a Kings County Independence Party County Committee due to the small number of enrolled members of the Independence Party in Kings County relative to the total number of requisite county committee seats.

 C. Plaintiffs and the Six Candidates at Issue

 The plaintiffs are four enrolled members of the Independence Party who are the self-anointed "officers" of an entity they term the "Independence Party County Committee of Kings County." However, this entity is admittedly not a legally constituted county committee pursuant to the 25% rule. Plaintiffs nevertheless have moved this Court, as officers of this non-entity, to invalidate the Board of Elections' removal from the ballot of six candidates whom they have submitted to the Board of Elections as candidates for the Independence Party primary election to be held on September 9, 1997. The Board of Elections rejected these "candidates" because they were not put forth by a legally constituted Independence Party county committee.

 Although the plaintiffs are all members of the Independence Party, the six candidates plaintiffs seek to place on the ballot for the Independence Party primary are not enrolled members of the Independence Party [hereinafter "non-party candidates"]. The nomination of non-party candidates for a party's primary election is governed by Election Law § 6-120, which sets forth the basis upon which authorizations, known as "Wilson-Pakula" authorizations, can be issued for a non-party candidate to obtain a place on the ballot for a primary election. Section 6-120(3) provides that: "The members of the party committee representing the political subdivision of the office for which a designation or nomination is to be made, or of such other committee as the rules of the party may provide . . . may authorize the designation or nomination" ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.