Ballots for Ulster County, which should have been prepared a week ago, will be printed without the Women’s Equality Party line on them after the two election commissioners agreed not to wait for further court action. This means that Jeff Logan, who lost the Democratic line to Neil Bettez, will not be on any ballot line for New Paltz town supervisor and must gather what votes he can via write-ins.
“If I’m not on the ballot, I would ask that all write me in,” said Logan following Monday’s announcement. “If people feel they cannot write me in, I would ask they vote for experience and someone that has lived here more than 13 months and understands government and our community.”
A number of court cases have been heard, or are still in process, regarding whether or not the WEP is now a party with ballot standing. Democratic election commissioner Vic Work has stated that he thinks the matter is decided and the WEP should have appeared in Ulster County, but Republican commissioner Tom Turco is waiting for a statewide ruling, saying to include it would be an “illegal action.”
The WEP began as a ballot line created by gathering petition signatures — which is a common occurrence locally — but because it included Andrew Cuomo among its candidates, the line received enough votes to become an official party. Nothing in New York election law is easy, and three different groups tried to file the organizing paperwork. That led to multiple court cases around the state to determine who has the right to organize the party and authorize candidates. The present disagreement between Work and Turco is based on whether a clear ruling has yet been made.
“All requirements have been met, in my opinion, in the election law,” said Work on Friday. “The candidates should be on the ballot. The Republican commissioner has a different view, so no ballots have been printed. He said he was objecting based on pending lawsuits, but those have nothing to do with Ulster County. The Warren County case is regarding not filing the affidavit, but they did file that affidavit here. In Suffolk, the judge ordered the Board of Elections to print the ballot with the WEP on it. I hope a court decision is not needed here.”
Turco does have a different view, but he disagreed with not printing ballots while it’s being worked out. “We could have sent out ballots without the Women’s Equality Party on them and then corrected them,” he said. As for his perspective, he said he is waiting for a court action that declares that the WEP has a valid committee at its head. “They don’t have a valid authorization, so I can’t accept any of the acceptances that are filed. There are still court cases going on, and if somebody rules statewide who the authorized committee is, we will move on. It would be an illegal action to put them on now. For whatever reason, Commissioner Work took the stance to wait until we could put them on the ballot, and as of now, they are not valid.”
On Monday, Commissioner Work agreed to allow the ballots to be printed without the WEP listed, according to Turco, who said he did not know why his fellow commissioner changed his mind. Turco did say that at this late date, he does not anticipate being ordered to print revised ballots. “The courts are all done,” he said.