Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Still Not Over

It Goes On and On and On!

Republican chairman Greg Fingar's plan which he announced by press release last week, in which he agreed to open all of the ballots being challenged on residency, did not materialize.

GOP attorney James Walsh did not withdraw the challenges based on residency, much to the astonishment of most of the people in the audience and apparently to Judge Nichols as well.

The judge was very clear that the Appellate Division's ruling had ordered that all ballots that had been challenged on the basis of residency must be opened.  He then asked Jim Walsh why all ballots should not be opened.  Walsh explained that they had other objections in addition to residency, for example, on the basis of the veracity of the application or the absentee envelope.  The judge was once again very clear that if veracity related to residency, it could no longer be challenged.  If the challenges were related to signature or the voter’s whereabouts on election day, then they could be challenged.  Judge Nichols also warned Walsh not to try and add new objections.

Walsh stipulated to the opening of 5 ballots.  He then (after a phone call to "his client") offered to agree to open another 12-15 if the Democrats would stipulate to certify the election of Betty Young as Taghkanic Supervisor. That was not agreed to, since the Democrats believe that all election results should be certified at the same time.  Walsh then asked the judge to certify the election since it was no longer in dispute. Judge Nichols refused to get involved, saying the decision is up to the Board of Elections. In the end they agreed to open a total of 17 ballots out of the 66 left to count.

Walsh then proceeded to interpret a portion of the Appellate Division's opinion, claiming that it conflicted with the opinion of the 2nd Dept.  He felt he and the Republicans were being denied an opportunity to challenge ballot applications since the law prohibits them from reviewing them prior to the election. Kathleen O'Keefe (attorney for the Columbia County Democratic Committee and the Democratic candidates) and the judge disagreed with him; however, the judge agreed to allow Walsh to brief the issue, which is due Jan. 6th.  Reply briefs are due Jan. 11th.  He also instructed Walsh to provide a list of each voter and the specific reasons the voter is being challenged. The Republicans have still not ever provided this.

The judge made it absolutely clear that these ballots should be opened and that he is skeptical of Walsh’s claim that there are additional challenges (other than residency) to the remaining 49 ballots.  We too are skeptical.  The Republicans know how many votes they need to win the Taghkanic elections—so they are trying to challenge just enough (and have them voided) so they can win.  All the Republicans have done is delay the inevitable.
The 17 ballots that were opened today at the BOE—all of them went to the Democratic candidates…

 We will not rest 
until every vote 
that should be counted, 
is counted!
Read More:
The Right to Vote in Taghkanic and 
Never Assume on ccScoop


•  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •  •
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Back to Court

The Republican challenges to the voting rights of Columbia County voters heads back to court tomorrow, Wednesday December 30th at 1pm in front of Judge Nichols. The hearing will again be back at the Elk's Lodge on Harry Howard Blvd in Hudson. Map

All indications are that the Republicans will be dropping the challenges to most of the absentee ballots.  Columbia County Republican Chair, Greg Fingar said in a press release issued last week, “We are willing to settle this matter prior to Jan. 1 by having Judge Nichols consider certain objections to ballots, as he ruled on objections lodged by Democratic attorneys, and withdrawing the rest of our objections,” Fingar said. His statement also said that “we believe any ballot challenged solely on the basis of voter ‘qualifications’ should be opened immediately.”
Read:
Remaining Unopened Absentee Ballots to go Before the Court Again Wednesday in the Register-Star
and Lawyers Meet on Vote Challenge in The Columbia Paper
• • • • • • • • • • • •
There were also a number of letters to the editor concerning the attack on the rights of Columbia County voters this week. Read them below.
Second-Home Voters
Where's the Outcry?
Hard Way or the Easy Way?
• • • • • • • • • • • •
Two Taghkanic Resolutions - 
One Not Voted Upon and one Fails to Pass.
Following the resolutions by the towns of Copake and Chatham and the City of Hudson which supported the rights of second home owners, Republican Supervisor Betty Young introduced a resolution, called “Right to Vote,” which proposed that citizens need to be “properly informed as to legal requirements for registration and voting” and that this information should be provided and disseminated by the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Elections.

Young was clearly uncomfortable with the “Right to Vote” resolution. She bluntly admitted, “I don’t like it.” When Edwards asked then why she presented it, Young shook her head.

When the Register-Star asked who authored the resolution, Young admitted: “He doesn’t want to be acknowledged. I presented it. I did what I was asked to do.” This resolution did not even make it to a vote — Young simply said “No” when asked to make a motion to go to a vote.

A second resolution, similar to resolutions passed in Copake, Hudson and Chatham denouncing the litigation was introduced by Democrat Erin Edwards.

Taghkanic resident Jeremiah McAward stood up in the middle of the argument cum debate — an anomaly. Usually no town members speak unless they have signed up to do so. He asked, “Why don’t you ask us what we think?

LaSalvia complied, and McAward, a second homeowner since the early 1980s, said, “No one’s ever challenged me because I’m a Republican. I care who gets elected but I care more about how. You choose your principal place of residence and that’s that.”

The number of second homeowners in Taghkanic — and in fact, Columbia County — is substantial. The resolution noted that they pay a “substantial portion of the Town and School taxes.” This resolution failed to pass, with Edward and LaSalvia in favor, and Young and Town Board members Richard Skoda and Carolyn Sammons against.

Read more:
Town Tackles Ballot Issue at Last Meeting in the Register-Star 
The Right to Vote in Taghkanic in The Columbia Paper

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Columbia Paper Reports on Ballot Battle

Deborah Gilbert has penned an excellent article for The Columbia Paper on Greg Fingar and the Columbia County Republicans' challenge to the rights of voters in Columbia County.

Vote Challenges May Proceed but Court Limits GOP Options 

This is perhaps the most comprehensive and accurate account of the issue to date. The Columbia County Democratic Committee thanks and congratulates Ms. Gilbert and the paper for researching and explaining this issue in such an exemplary way.

Read the full article

Ballot Battle Lands on NY Times - Page 1

From the article: 

TAGHKANIC, N.Y. — For years, Republican officials here have watched with growing alarm as newcomers from New York City arrived in late-model cars, built second homes and started to vote in increasing numbers, usually for Democrats.

Now Republicans, armed with private investigators, are pursuing a new strategy to preserve their power: take away part-time residents’ right to vote here.

Last month, after Democrats cast enough votes to threaten the Republican Party’s generations-old dominance of the town, Republican candidates filed a suit to review dozens of the Democrats’ absentee ballots, claiming they were cast by occasional residents who had no business voting here....

...Part-time residents said they were bewildered at having their votes challenged and blamed Republicans for trying to divide this quiet town along partisan lines. Many of them said they had been coming to Taghkanic for years and resented being cast as interlopers.

“They can have my vote back,” said Stephen Fass, a food importer who bought a house here in the 1980s. “But then I want my school taxes back.”

Read the full article.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Congressman Murphy on the Republican Ballot Challenges

In an article in the Register-Star, Congressman Scott Murphy (D-Glens Falls) said "the Columbia County Republican Party’s legal challenges of 66 absentee ballots from second homeowners in the town of Tagkanic “irresponsible” and a “waste of time.”

“These persistent efforts to keep people disenfranchised is wrong,” Murphy said. “Everyone needs to be allowed to vote.”

Murphy said spending that much of a community’s money fighting a legal battle over residency issues that have been clearly defined on previous occasions is irresponsible. “The people behind it should stop wasting taxpayer’s money,” Murphy said. “The only people who are making any money on this are the lawyers who are stoking this stuff up.”

Read the full article in the Register-Star

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Appellate Court Decision

The Ruling: 

Taghkanic Absentee Ballot Count 
Can Continue
but
Residency is Ruled an
Invalid Challenge.

This decision is on our appeal of the lower court decision to deny our motion to dismiss the case.

While the court affirmed the lower court decision which says that the Republican's cause of action states a claim, the court agreed with our position that they cannot challenge residency after the absentee ballots have been issued; that the law regarding a voter choosing among residences for election purposes is construed broadly and that the failure by Fingar and the Republican Party to join the voters as necessary parties means they did not intend to challenge them on the basis of residency.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Following is the Press Release on the ruling issued by Chris Nolan, Chair of the Columbia County Democratic Committee.

Appellate Division Upholds Democratic Committee and Reaffirms Voting Rights of Second-Home Owners

Today, the Appellate Division of the NYS Court sided with the Columbia County Democratic Committee in upholding second-home owners' right to choose from which residence to vote.


In issuing its decision, the Court threw out all Republican challenges based on absentee voters’ dual residency, finding that such challenges may not be made after a ballot has already been issued.

The case survives only as to those challenges that were not being contested in this appeal.

This important decision validates the rigorous defense of dual residents’ voting rights made by our attorney, Kathleen O'Keefe and Commissioner Martin’s attorney, Dan Burstein.

We are pleased that this issue has now been settled and that the court yet again has recognized the voting rights of second-home owners.

This pro-voter decision makes it clear that the voter suppression tactics used by the Republican Party in this case are not permitted.

View the decision here.



• • • • • • • • • • •
But this fight has been expensive
and it is still not over.
Please make a contribution as a show of support and to help us cover the costs of defending the rights of Columbia County voters
against these baseless challenges.
No contribution is too small
and all are appreciated.


Please contribute to our
Legal Defense Fund
on


Or by check payable to CCDC
Columbia County Democratic Committee
PO Box 507 Ghent, NY 12075



Chatham Becomes 3rd Municipality to Denounce Republican Voter Challenge

The Town of Chatham has become the third Columbia County municipality to pass a resolution supporting the rights of second homeowners to vote in Columbia County. 



The resolution passed unanimously after about 15 minutes of discussion.

The Republican Party brought a legal challenge against Columbia County voters who voted by Absentee Ballot in the November 2009 General Election.  That suit represents a coordinated campaign to prevent an entire class of voters from exercising their right to vote. 

Evidence that this is a coordinated conspiracy is contained in the June 8, 2009 meeting minutes of the Columbia County Sportsmen’s Federation in which the Chairman of the Columbia County Republican Committee is reported to have said:  “24/7 residents need to get more involved in the political process, stop the “weekenders” from taking over.”

See the Full Story at ChathamDemocrats blog.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Appellate Division Judges Hear Ballot Case


The New York State Appellate Division 3rd Department heard arguments in the absentee ballot case. The five judge panel listened to arguments in an Albany courtroom packed with candidates and residents from Taghkanic and Columbia County.

Lead plaintiff Greg Fingar was not present in court as has been the case for most of the hearings to date.

Attorney Kathleen O’Keefe represented the Columbia County Democratic Committee Chairman Chris Nolan and the Democratic candidates. Attorney Dan Burstein represented Board of Elections Commissioner Virginia Martin. Mr. Nolan and Ms. Martin were present at the hearing as they have been throughout the ordeal.

John Ciampoli was the attorney for the lead plaintiff in the case, Columbia County Republican Committee Chair, Greg Fingar and the Republican candidates. The attorneys were each given ten minutes to address the panel.

Ms. O’Keefe spoke first, telling the judges that she hadn’t been able to find a case where asking for a “massive amount of information” from voters whose ballots were challenged was allowed.

Mr. Burstein spoke second and said “There’s no evidence that there’s any fraud of residency ... there’s no reason to continue an inquiry after the election,”

Ciampoli spoke last and said he was challenging the oath (that each absentee voter must sign) because the absentee ballot application states “they know of no reason why they are not qualified to vote in this election ... the ‘sham’ here is not just in the residency, but in the act of voting.” During ballot challenges, Ciampoli and Attorney James Walsh challenged ballots on “veracity of oath” dozens of times.

Judge Peters asked Ciampoli, whether the issue was about the qualification of voters and residence. “It’s about that, and more, your honor,” he replied. She later asked “Aren’t you challenging them, in essence, with fraud?”. Ciampoli replied that election law said a voter was not a necessary party in a ballot challenge, only in a challenge to a registration. “We seek only to invalidate the ballot". Judge Peters then asked “How do you do one without the other?”

Columbia Democrats' attorney Kathleen O'Keefe believes that a decision will come quickly "hopefully by Friday.”

Decisions made by the state Court of Appeals are posted on its Web site here

Read more:
Register-Star - Appellate Judges Hear Ballot Case

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hudson Common Council Defends the Voting Rights of 2nd Home Owners

Following on the heels of a similar resolution passed by the Copake Town Board.  The Hudson Common Council passed a resolution defending the voting rights of Columbia County voters.


The Columbia County Democratic Committee's appeal of Judge Nichols' denial of their motion to dismiss will be heard on Wednesday December 16th, 1pm at the Robert Abrams Building in Albany.

Read more:
Learn More:
• Video Report on the Republican Challenges Part 1 and Part 2

Please contribute to our  
on

 Or by check payable to CCDC
Columbia County Democratic Committee
PO Box 507
Ghent, NY 12075

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reply Briefs Filed for Appellate Hearing

On Wednesday December 16th the Appellate Division 3rd Department will hear the appeal of Judge Nichols' decision failing to dismiss the Republican challenges of voters' rights in Columbia County.

Kathleen O'Keefe is representing Chairman Chris Nolan for the Columbia County Democratic Committee and the Democratic candidates in Taghkanic.

Daniel Burstein is representing Democratic Commissioner of Elections, Virginia Martin.

Read the reply briefs by Kathleen O'Keefe and Daniel Burstein

Part 2 of Chairman Nolan's Report

Part 2 of Chairman Nolan's Report.

Chairman Chris Nolan's Report on Court Case

Columbia County Democrats Chair Chris Nolan explains the history of the Republican challenge to the voting rights of Columbia County residents to Hudson City Democrats Chair Victor Mendolia.
This is Part 1 of the report.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Copake Town Board Passes Resolution on Rights of Second Home Owners


The Copake Town Board has passed a resolution supporting the rights of second home owners to vote in Columbia County.  

See the full story on the Copake Democrats blog.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Committee Takes its Case to Appellate Division

December 12, 2009

The Republican Party has brought a legal challenge against Columbia County voters who voted by Absentee Ballot in the November 2009 General Election.  That suit represents a coordinated campaign to prevent an entire class of voters from exercising their right to vote. 

Evidence that this is a coordinated conspiracy is contained in the June 8, 2009 meeting minutes of the Columbia County Sportsmen’s Federation in which the Chairman of the Columbia County Republican Committee is reported to have said:  “24/7 residents need to get more involved in the political process, stop the “weekenders” from taking over.”
See original document here.

In April 2009, during the count of absentee ballots in the Murphy-Tedisco race, the Republican lawyers challenged ballots in all 10 counties of the 20th Congressional District.  The predominant reason given at that time was “residency”.  Those same lawyers have sharpened their approach.  Again, quoting the Republican County Chair who was interviewed by a local Columbia County newspaper: “We’ve done a great deal more research this time and have targeted individuals.”
See original article here.

Involved in election challenges from Suffolk to St Lawrence counties, it is reasonable to assume that working with their private investigators these attorneys have had the opportunity to compile data on voters from across the state.  They are counsels for election law to the NYS Republican Senate and Assembly committees.  We see this as clearly a state wide assault on voters’ rights funded wholly or in major part by the NYS Republican Committee and major Republican donors.

The Republican attorneys do not deny that the absentee voters they have challenged own a residence in Columbia County.  They stated that in open court.  They requested the court issue subpoenas to require voters to produce over 20 items of personal data such as mortgages, insurances, driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, tax returns, professional licenses, credit cards, leases, deeds, etc to prove they have a residence elsewhere.  In their request for these subpoenas they state: “The nature of the information sought by this subpoena is that relating to your residence address outside Columbia County.” [Documents Requested by Subpoena, submitted to the Court by James Walsh, Esq., 8 Dec 2009]  They justify this demand with the submission of a spreadsheet of information already compiled indicating that a significant invasion of individual privacy irrelevant to voter registration has already been perpetrated.  In their covering brief they state that they “have attached an Excel Spread Sheet to detail the information in a clear, concise way for the court.” [James Walsh, 8 December 2009, Affirmation Supporting Issuance of Subpoenas]  The court denied their request for subpoenas to be issued from the bench perhaps in part because the Appellate Division had agreed to hear the case the prior evening.
To see the outrageous list of documents the Republicans sought to compel voters to produce click here.

Clearly the Republican State Committee has compiled a database of invasive information on voters throughout the State.  This database skirts the edge of violation of privacy rights.  Most significantly, our case demonstrates that its use in voter targeting is already underway. 

If the Republicans are successful in using Columbia County as a precedent in their challenge to law based on their residency objection, then voters across the state could be targeted and perhaps even challenged at the polls.  This tactic was demonstrated in Dutchess County this November when Bard College and Vassar College students were stopped at the polling places by poll watchers and forced to vote by affidavit ballot.
Watch the behavior of the Republican poll watcher for yourself here.
The College immediately brought suit related to this incident and won.  The affidavit ballots were counted but only for the 2009 election.

In the Columbia County case, the Republican lawyers’ brief to the Appellate Division states: “Watchers have the same right to object to ballots at the Board as they have to object to voters in the polling place.” {John Ciampoli, 10 Dec 2009, Brief to Appellate Division}  This is a bold affront to voters.  Awareness of this Republican effort at vote suppression and voter intimidation needs to be broadcast by the New York State Democratic Committee and the Democratic Rural Conference.  Each County needs to inform itself of the challenges that are being faced by Columbia County and take heed that they take necessary precautionary steps.

Please refer to the website www.columbiadems.net for a chronology of this matter along with links to press reports in local media.

Case law has already been established to define the qualifications necessary to vote in an election district.  These findings confirm that the challenge currently being made is a blatant attempt to overturn law by means of litigation.  While the lawyers may have thought that they could easily win their case in Columbia County, we understand its implications having been through it in April 2009.  We are determined to see the case to a successful conclusion.  And we are determined to maintain awareness of this scurrilous attempt at infringing on the constitutional civil liberties of voters.

The hearing is scheduled for 1 PM Wednesday 16 December in Albany.

The Columbia County Democratic Committee is grateful for the help it has received thus far in defending voters’ rights.  We anticipate that our needs will grow as the case continues its progress through the higher courts.  Your continued support is appreciated.

Christopher Nolan
Chair
Columbia County Democratic Committee

Latest News Reports and Editorials
The Columbia Paper - Who pays to spy on voters?

Please contribute to our legal defense fund on

 Or by check payable to CCDC
Columbia County Democratic Committee
PO Box 507
Ghent, NY 12075

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Absentee Ballot Challenge Update - 8 December


At the end of today's hearing, Judge Nichols agreed to Democratic attorney, Kathleen O'Keefe's request for a stay.  There will be no further action in Columbia County (thankfully) until the Democrats appeal is heard next Wednesday Dec 16th in Albany.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Not My Idea of Democracy - from ccScoop


From ccScoop



NOT MY IDEA OF DEMOCRACY
My name is Adolf Meier. Everyone calls me “Red.” I am an 86-year-old, life-long registered Republican, and I have the misfortune of living in the Town of Taghkanic, Columbia County, NY. I am legally blind, and my daughter is helping me write this letter on her computer.


When I was 18 World War II was underway, and I volunteered to defend America’s freedoms by joining the United States Marine Corps. You’ve probably heard of the Battle of Iwo Jima? I was in the first Marine landing that day (February 19, 1945), and if you know anything about Iwo Jima you know that I am one of the lucky ones to make it out alive. As a result of that experience, however, after being honorably discharged at the end of the war, I slowly began to lose my eyesight. I am now legally blind—a designation that can only be determined by my doctor and the federal government. So, I now vote by absentee ballot. 
Continued: Read On




Former Senator Bruno Guilty




BRUNO
FOUND
GUILTY


Former Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno was convicted of federal corruption today for exploiting his political office to enrich himself through side “consultant” work that conflicted with his role as one of the most powerful men in New York state government.

The 80-year-old Republican from Brunswick sat quietly as the jury of seven women and five men rendered its verdict about 4:15 p.m.: Guilty on two counts of mail and wire fraud.


More at: Times Union and The Albany Project

Big News - Appellate Divisision Agrees to Hear Appeal

While there was small movement in the challenges and counting of absentee ballots in Judge Nichols' makeshift courtroom at the Hudson Elk's Lodge today, the biggest news came at the end of the day.
It was then that Democratic counsel, Kathleen O'Keefe announced that the appellate division had accepted her appeal of Judge Nichols' previous ruling denying O'Keefe's motion to dismiss.
That hearing is scheduled for 1 PM Wednesday 16 December in Albany.

Judge Nichols' court at the Hudson Elk's lodge will reconvene on Tuesday 8 December at 1pm.
The Elk's Lodge is located at:
201 Harry Howard Avenue in Hudson. Map
NOTE CHANGE: On Tuesday, December 8, the hearing will begin at 1p.m.


Court Hearing Moves to Elk's Lodge


The ongoing case regarding challenges to absentee ballots, will no longer be heard at the Columbia County Courthouse and will instead be heard at the Elks Club in Hudson.
The reason for the move is space and accessibility.

The hearings resume at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, December 7.
First up will be the challenges brought against Taghkanic voters for reasons other than residency and then the case against Democratic Commissioner of Elections Virginia Martin will be heard.

NOTE CHANGE: On Tuesday, December 8, the hearing will begin at 1p.m.

The Elk's Lodge is located at:
201 Harry Howard Avenue in Hudson. Map
Read More: ccScoop


Sunday, December 6, 2009

Status Report on Republican Challenges to Columbia County Voting Rights

Latest Status Report on the 
Republican Challenges to the 
Rights of Columbia County Voters

This report is intended to keep the public informed of the events occurring in the Supreme Court in Hudson NY in relation to the case: Fingar v Columbia County BOE and Nolan. Joined to this case are the candidates from Taghkanic, NY who appeared on the Nov 3rd 2009 Ballot.


DECEMBER 2, 2009
Court was reconvened on the afternoon of Dec 2nd with a packed courtroom. Spectators were standing. Appearing on behalf of plaintiff Republicans was James Walsh, Kathleen O’Keefe for Respondent Nolan and the Democratic Committee, Daniel Burstein with Jeffrey Novack on behalf of Virginia Martin, and County Attorney Fitzsimmons on behalf of the BOE. The agenda of the court was to hear the arguments. At this hearing Judge Nichols dismissed the case against Ms Martin primarily on argument made by Mr Burstein that a public official is immune from individual prosecution when acting in official duties.

The lawyers were requested the prior day to return with a list of challenged ballots. Kathleen O’Keefe returned a specific list of 18 ballots with detailed objections to 15. The other 3 were no longer contested and stipulated to be counted. Mr. Walsh submitted a generic argument and related it to the list already prepared by the BOE. There are 66 ballots to which Mr. Walsh had objected.

The court proceeded to hear the oral arguments on the case. Mr. Walsh contends that utilizing Election Law article 16-106 was valid and that he could challenge the absentee ballots. The basis for Mr. Walsh’s objections to the ballots was overwhelmingly “Qualification” and he stated in court today that by “qualification” he meant dual residency issues. Ms. O’Keefe responded that this was the first time that Mr. Walsh had stated on the record that the objection was Residence. He further stated that he was not disputing that the voters had a residence in Columbia County but that his contention was that their primary residence was outside the county and they should vote there.

Ms O’Keefe and Mr Burstein argued that the election law article 16-108 is the statue that applies and that necessary parties to the court case, the voters, had not been notified by the court. Mr. Burstein noted that under election law a voter must be notified if their registration was being challenged. Ms. O’Keefe continued by saying it was necessary to bring in the voter. The court action was incorrectly framed as a ballot challenge but is in fact a registration challenge.

Mr Fitzsimmons, the County Attorney, made no arguments or presented anything.

The court adjourned after the arguments with a request by the judge to have the arguments submitted in writing by Friday noon. The Judge said he would issue his ruling on the motion to dismiss the case involving objections to the ballots by Friday afternoon.

DECEMBER 3, 2009
The BOE in standard procedure opened the absentee ballots from the towns of Claverack, Stuyvesant, Ancram and Austerlitz. And the ballots from Taghkanic that Ms. O’Keefe had stipulated that she removed her prior objections. No incident occurred and the business was concluded expeditiously in two hours. For reports on the final outcomes see ccScoop and Register-Star

DECEMBER 4, 2009
The attorneys sent to the judge their oral arguments as written briefs. It is noted that both Mr Burstein and Ms O’Keefe had theirs to the Judge by the requested deadline of 12 noon but Mr. Walsh submitted his arguments after 1PM. By 3 that afternoon, the Judge issued his ruling. It denied the motion by Ms O’Keefe and Mr. Burstein to dismiss the case. Court would reconvene on Monday, December 7, 2009 at 10:30 AM but the location would be changed to the Elks Lodge Hall on Harry Howard Ave, Hudson, NY to permit more room for the spectators. This all happened via email.

It is important to note that the Republican attorneys filed a proposed subpoena to voters with the court. This has to be considered and signed by the Judge, possibly on December 7th. The subpoena requests a long list of items to be supplied by the voter. This document will be debated on Monday. A copy is attached as an exhibit to this status report.

APPENDIX
News reports of the week:

Register Star - 6 December 2009 Taghkanic Absentee Voters Face Subpoenas 
ccScoop - 5 December 2009 The Ballot Battle Continues
Register Star - 5 December 2009 Judge Denies Dems’ Motion for Dismissal
Register Star - 4 December 2009 Counting Complete in All But Taghkanic
Register Star - 3 December 2009 Ballot Court Battle Still Not Over
ccScoop - 2 December 2009  The Issue is Residency
ccScoop - 2 December 2009 And the Winners Are...
Register Star - 1 December 2009 Judge Wants List of Ballot Objections
List of items required by subpoena of challenged voters:
View the list here.
Related news reports:
New York Times - Republicans Challenge Voter Rolls In Westchester
MiscellanyNews - Bard College sues Board of Elections for illegal injunction 
The Freemans Journal - GOP Legal Beagle May Be Called In
The Albany Project - Dutchess County Voter Suppression: One Student's Perspective 
The Albany Project - Insane Ruling In Dutchess County: Brands, Ciampoli Strike Again


Please contribute to the Columbia County Absentee Ballot Legal Defense Fund on  






Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Report on the Republican Assault on Voting Rights in Columbia County


Are we getting anywhere?  Do we know who has won these races yet? What will Columbia County government look like when it is all over?
Report From CCDC Chairman Chris Nolan
Christopher Nolan, Chair of the Columbia County Democratic Committee, has issued the most extensive report that has been done to date, on the Republican assault on the voting rights of Columbia County voters. It includes a frank assessment of the players and motivations of those involved,
Read his report: http://links.columbiadems.net/report

See also: After the Murphy/Tedisco case last Spring, George Rodenhausen and the committee's Election Law Task Force prepared a document on the voting rights of second home owners. Read that document:
http://links.columbiadems.net/taskforcememo.


A modern day goon-squad is in the county, and they want to steal your vote.

We have compiled a list of stories and editorials that have appeared since the Republicans started their campaign against Columbia County voters.

If you haven't seen it all, it is really worth a look.

We will not give up this fight.
But we need your help.
The tactics being employed by the Republicans are an orchestrated effort 
to intimidate the voters of Columbia County.

But we will not be intimidated.
We have stood with the voters of all political parties 
and those in no political party.
All NY voters have the right to vote where they choose,
and to have that vote counted without obstruction of any kind.
We are standing up for you.
Will you stand with us?
Please make a contribution right away.
Even a small contribution is helpful and greatly appreciated.

http://www.actblue.com/page/cocoabsenteeballots
Or by check made out to CCDC sent to:
Columbia County Democratic Committee
PO Box 507
Ghent, NY 12075