Smith v. Sullivan

Election Law

New York Law Journal


Justice Paul Marx

Smith and Sullivan, candidates in the special election for county legislator in the 18th District, Orange County, began two Election Law proceedings. They sought the disqualification and nullification of certain not-yet-counted ballots. Sullivan moved to have the court declare as null and void two ballots on the basis that each contained extraneous marks. Sullivan urged that one ballot should be nullified as the word "Abandon" was scrawled across its face. The court held this ballot will be counted since the word "Abandon" is a term of art used by election workers, thus the marking is not a stray mark by a voter warranting nullification. Smith asked the court to order that 26 potential voters who appeared at the polling station, voted on the incorrect ballot, and did not return to vote on the absent race should be allowed to vote on an affidavit ballot. The court held it did not have the authority to issue such an order, adding that, upon being notified of the error at the polling station, both campaigns had the chance to have voters return and execute an affidavit ballot.

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