Friday, January 15, 2016

Hasidic voters win settlement with Bloomingburg 

A group of 27 Hasidic voters in Bloomingburg will maintain their voter registrations after the Sullivan County Board of Elections conceded that it did not follow election law when it determined the petitioners were ineligible to vote.

In a settlement stipulation filed Jan. 8 in Sullivan County court, the county acknowledged that the notices of determination of ineligibility mailed to the 27 voters prior to the March 2015 village election were "statutorily defective."

"This is purely procedural," Assistant County Attorney Lori Bertsch-Brustman said. When the elections board informed the petitioners that they were not eligible to vote, the letters should have said the registrations were canceled, not "to be canceled," and they should have stated a reason for each voter.

Each petitioner has been able to vote in every election as the case moved forward, Bertsch-Brustman said. The petitioners dropped their Article 78 suit against the board of elections as part of the settlement.

Thomas Garry, lawyer for the petitioners, expressed approval of the settlement, which came just before the case was due in court.

"It is most unfortunate that voters needed court action to exercise their rights, but we are satisfied this settlement will ensure the constitutionally protected rights of our clients," Garry said.

A separate, still active federal case charges the Sullivan County Board of Elections with discrimination against Hasidic voters.

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