rights against the interests the State contends justify that burden, and consider the extent to which the State's concerns make the burden necessary." Timmons v. Twin Cities Area New Party, U.S. , 137 L. Ed. 2d 589, 117 S. Ct. 1364, 1370 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Regulations that impose "severe burdens on plaintiffs' rights must be narrowly tailored and advance a compelling state interest. Lesser burdens, however, trigger less exacting review, and a State's 'important regulatory interests' will usually be enough to justify 'reasonable, nondiscriminatory restrictions.'" Id. (quoting Burdick v. Takushi, 504 U.S. 428, 434, 119 L. Ed. 2d 245, 112 S. Ct. 2059 (1992)).
The program's April 30 application deadline imposes an extremely minor burden on the right to vote. Rogers admits that he was "unusually late" in applying for the program on May 23, see Cmplt. at P 10, and I take judicial notice of the fact that many other candidates were able to meet the deadline. Furthermore, as noted above, Rogers does not allege that he was denied access to the ballot as a result of the deadline; in fact, he attaches to his Complaint a document that purports to show his name on the ballot for the Democratic mayoral primary held on September 9, 1997. See Cmplt. at Exhibit A. Thus, according to the Complaint, the deadline did not deny voters the opportunity to vote for him. See Timmons, 117 S. Ct. at 1372 (upholding election law that did not " directly limit the [plaintiff's] access to the ballot.") (emphasis added). The Second Circuit has applied a "less exacting review" to voting restrictions far more onerous than this. See, e.g., Schulz v. Williams, 44 F.3d 48, 56-57 (2d Cir. 1994) (upholding statute that required independent candidates for statewide office -- but not candidates from major parties -- to gather signatures and other information from 15,000 registered voters over a 42-day period before gaining access to the ballot). Therefore, this deadline should be upheld if it is a "reasonable, nondiscriminatory restriction" that serves "important regulatory interests." Burdick, 504 U.S. at 434.
This standard is clearly met. The matching funds program seeks to reduce candidates' dependence on large financial contributions by providing incentives to candidates to abide by certain expenditure, contribution and disclosure requirements. See Affidavit of Nicole A. Gordon, Executive Director of the Campaign Finance Board at P 7. This goal is obviously legitimate. See California Med. Assoc. v. Federal Election Comm'n, 453 U.S. 182, 197-99, 69 L. Ed. 2d 567, 101 S. Ct. 2712 (1981) (campaign contribution limits serve the permissible purpose of "preventing the actual or apparent corruption of the political process."). Moreover, such a program would be useless without a deadline for admission fairly early in the campaign season: Otherwise, candidates' incentives to comply with the program's restrictions would be dramatically reduced. While it is possible that these purposes could have been served just as well by a deadline that extended until May 23rd, the day that Rogers sought admission to the program, there is no "constitutional dimension" to such minor details of otherwise permissible government action. Burson v. Freeman, 504 U.S. 191, 210, 119 L. Ed. 2d 5, 112 S. Ct. 1846 (1992) (statute prohibiting political activity within 100 feet of a polling place on election day is not unconstitutional merely because its purposes could conceivably have been served by a smaller restricted area). Finally, there is no allegation in the Complaint that the deadline has a discriminatory purpose or effect beyond the fact that it "discriminates" against those candidates who miss it. See Cmplt. at PP 10-13; see also Burdick, 504 U.S. at 437 ("We have repeatedly upheld reasonable, politically neutral [election] regulations . . . .") (emphasis added). Because the program's April 30th deadline was reasonable, neutral and served an important regulatory purpose, it did not violate Rogers' First or Fourteenth Amendment rights.
Rogers has not pled that the subject of this dispute -- the Campaign Finance Board's April 30, 1997 deadline for admission into its matching funds program -- amounted to a violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Further, Rogers has not alleged that he was discriminated against on the basis of "race, color, religion, or national origin," and so has not stated a claim upon which relief can be granted under the Civil Rights Act of 1963. He similarly fails to allege that he has been deprived of rights protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Therefore, defendants' motions to dismiss are granted.
Shira A. Scheindlin
Dated: New York, New York
December 29, 1997