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Letter to NYS Election Law Committee for Revision of New York State Election Law

State Senator Myrie (photo: NY Senate Media Services)

August 1, 2021

Honorable Zellnor Myrie
New York State Senator
Chairman of Election Law Committee
Legislative Office Bldg. Room 903
Albany, NY 12247

Re: Revision of New York State Election Law Sec. 6-144 and update of New York City Board of Elections equipment and rules.  

Dear Senator Myrie,

Anita Uppal and I were candidates for Republican State Committee in the 24th Assembly District in Eastern Queens, NY running in the June 22nd Primary Election.

We met all the legal signature requirements and abided by the NYC Board of Elections petition rules, but our petition volumes were invalidated because both volumes were time-stamped with the same time in minutes. I am requesting a revision to update rules and equipment to include seconds in the appropriate section of New York State Election Law, and an evaluation of NYC Board of Election’s arcane rules, in order to achieve a more fair and honest election and ballot access process for candidates and voters alike.

I am requesting that the following sentence of New York State Election Law Section 6-144 be revised from:

“All such petitions and certificates shall at the time of filing thereof be endorsed by such officer or board with the day, hour and minute of such filing.”

…to the following:

“All such petitions and certificates shall at the time of filing thereof be endorsed by such officer or board with the day, hour, minute and second of such filing.”

Our petitions were invalidated through no fault of our own, but because the NYC Board of Elections employed equipment that does not have the measurement of time in seconds. Ultimately the Board alleged that they were “confused” and disqualified our valid petitions because they could not determine which cover sheet was “controlling” since the petition volumes were stamped with the same time in minutes. There is a Board rule (C7) for Designating Petitions that reads:

“In the event of the filing of multiple cover sheets or amended cover sheets for a candidate, the last cover sheet or amended cover sheet to be filed shall be controlling.”

I question whether or not this Board of Election rule is valid or lawful. What part of New York State Election Law is this derived from? Following such arcane rules such as this are unnecessarily complicating the opportunities for access to the ballot for candidates.

Both the NYS Senate and Assembly Committees on Election Law have been entrusted to make improvements in opportunities and access to voting for all New Yorkers. But opportunities and access to the ballot for candidates for public and party offices have been overlooked. Improvements in opportunities for voting and access to the ballot go hand in hand in ensuring the integrity of our free and fair election system in New York.

This harkens back to a rule change implemented by the NBA called the Trent Tucker rule due to a jump shot by Tucker in the last tenth of a second, which won the game for the Knicks against the Chicago Bulls over 30 years ago. Due to the controversial Knicks victory, a rule change was implemented to update the regulations regarding jump shots in the last .3 second of a game, and to revise timeclocks to read tenths of a second.

If changes can be swiftly implemented for rules and equipment in the NBA to achieve justice and fairness in basketball games, I believe it is that much more important for analogous changes to be made in our Election Law.  Thank you for the opportunity to present my request, for the sake of justice and fairness in our election system.  

Sincerely,

Phil Orenstein
24AD Republican State Committee Candidate
Queens County Republican Patriots
NYS Registered Multi-Candidate Committee

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