The New York State Conservative Party filed a lawsuit on Monday in State Supreme Court to prevent the Commission on Public Finance from changing and/or abridging State Election Law as it pertains to fusion voting. (Fusion voting is the process that allows two or more political parties to list the same candidate and the pooling of the votes cast for that candidate.) The Conservative Party maintains that the authority to alter existing law rests solely with the State Legislature and that the rights of fusion voting and cross endorsement are settled law protected by numerous court decisions.
The Conservative Party believes that Governor Andrew Cuomo cynically aimed to eliminate fusion voting in New York by submitting, through the State Budget, his creation of a Financing Commission. The Governor and the Legislature overstepped their authority by delegating to this Financing Commission the changing or abridging of established Election Law that the Commission has no standing to rewrite.
By permitting the Commission to create laws that interfere with New York’s constitutionally-protected right to fusion voting, the Commission unconstitutionally violates decisions from New York’s highest court, some as recent as a 1973 decision guaranteeing the rights of fusion voting and cross endorsement. Additionally, through legal precedent dating back to the founding of our state, the right to change an enacted law is restricted to the body or higher body that created the law.
Conservative Party State Chairman Jerry Kassar said “I believe this is no more than a power grab by the Governor and Democratic Party to consolidate their control and punish another political party. It is against the interests of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers who each year choose to vote for cross-endorsed candidates on third party lines.”