ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Republican election officials around New York refused to conduct illegal elections in a court challenge last week, but soon began opening and inspecting the ballots. vote after a warning from the state attorney general, officials said.
Up to two-thirds of New York’s Republican congressional election commissioners refused to abide by a court order last week that kept an early vote count law in place pending the appeals court decision, according to Onondaga County Democratic election commissioner Dustin Czarny, who leads the Democratic Board of Election Commissioners across the country.
The ban would change a pandemic-era law that would allow absentee ballots to be counted before Election Day, which was challenged by members of the Republican and Conservative parties. Commissioners in New York are opening and scanning invalid ballots after the election, as official counts are sometimes delayed for weeks as lawyers challenge individual ballots on charges. it’s bad.
Nationally, more than 100 lawsuits have been filed this year in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. The legal challenges, mostly by Republicans, target mail-in voting laws. early voting, voter registration, voting machines, voter registration, counting of absentee ballots and access for election observers.
Saratoga County Judge Diane Freestone ruled on October 21 that New York’s law conflicts with the constitutional right of individuals to challenge votes in court before they are counted.
Although the Republicans won in the trial-level court, the appeals court granted a temporary ruling after an appeal by the Democrats who control the state government. The Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court in Albany will hear oral arguments Tuesday, a week before Election Day.
Lawyers for Republicans told GOP election commissioners to stop opening the polls on Friday while the party fights the court order, according to the commissioner of Republican elections of Dutchess County’s Erik Haight, who leads the GOP’s caucus of state election officials.
Republicans said instructions from the state Board of Elections did not allow the judge to order counties to begin recounting the ballots and open the polls if the state would get the result they were looking for. for appeal before decision.
The Republicans also argued that they did not have a chance to decide the court order, issued by the Deputy Judge John Egan.
“I don’t know this judge but he’s probably a biased person,” Haight said. “If a Republican is right on a constitutional issue, I’ll be a Republican for the rest of the day.”
Attorney General Letitia James’ office told election commissioners in a letter Thursday to follow up and resume conducting elections.
Haight said, assuming the court won’t lift the stay, county boards will begin opening and inspecting ballots Friday. Czarny said that after the attorney general’s letter, Republican congressional commissioners agreed to begin investigating the election on Friday.
But Czarny and other Democrats expressed concern that Republican election officials in New York are flouting a court order amid efforts by the national GOP to sow shame among voters and casting votes.
“It’s still very worrying that it’s gotten to this point,” Czarny said.
Czarny said local boards are behind but “that doesn’t mean we can’t catch up.