The attorney for the Republican Party claims that their unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Democratic voters of Hudson from the opportunity to select a candidate for mayor was due to the “evasion of the respondents that cost them the suit.” In fact, the Republican defeat was not caused by any actions taken by the Democrats. Had the Court overlooked the fundamental errors in the Republicans’ defective papers, it still would have reached the same result because the Republican objections to most of the signatures on the Opportunity to Ballot Petitions were wrong as a matter of law.
The Democrats submitted Opportunity to Ballot Petitions with 148 signatures of people wanting the opportunity to write in the name of a candidate for mayor in the Democratic primary election to be held on September 13, 2011. Only 92 valid signatures are required to grant the Petition. The Republicans challenged almost all of the signatures on the ground that the signers had previously signed a Petition (which was subsequently held to be invalid for the technical reason that the Democrats failed to file a necessary document) designating Nicholas Haddad as the Democratic candidate for mayor. Virginia Martin of the Board of Elections correctly rejected the Republican challenges because the law is clear that, if a voter signs a designating petition that is declared invalid for a technical reason, that voter is allowed to later sign a petition seeking the opportunity to write in a candidate’s name in a primary election.
The Republicans based their challenge on an incorrect reading of the law. Had the Court reached the merits of their lawsuit, it would have held that the cases relied on by the Republicans dealt with different situations that had nothing to do with the validity of the Opportunity to Ballot Petition that they were challenging. As the courts that have addressed similar situations have held, if they accepted the arguments that the Republicans are making, they would be disenfranchising a significant number of voters and depriving them of the right to select the candidate of their choice. Although the Republicans lost their lawsuit because of their own procedural errors, their attempt to deprive Hudson Democrats of the right to write in Nicholas Haddad for mayor at the primary would have been rejected by the Court, even if they hadn’t filed defective papers. In any event, justice was served.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
More About That Legal Battle
If you're still confused about the legal drama played out recently between the Republicans and Democrats, this letter, written by Edward Reisner, the attorney who represented Sarah Sterling in the lawsuit brought by the Republicans to invalidate the Democrats' opportunity to ballot petitions, offers some clarity.