New York’s ballot access requirements are notoriously complex. The Election Law is both difficult to understand and difficult to comply with.
The validity of a candidate’s designating petition is frequently challenged at the Board of Elections and in court, with the petitions of newcomers being particularly susceptible of a successful legal challenge. Occasionally, even a long-time incumbent will get knocked off the ballot for a seemingly minor issue, like a failure to timely file a proper petition cover sheet. More serious problems, like petition fraud engaged in by campaign staff or volunteers, can also lead to a candidate’s designating or nominating petition being invalidated by a court.
We help candidates for office prepare and file their designating or nominating petitions properly, in order to deter other candidates from challenging their petitions and to minimize the risk that a challenge to their petition will actually succeed and prevent their name from being included on the ballot on election day. We also litigate ballot access cases, defending candidates whose petitions are being challenged and challenging the validity of petitions filed by a client’s opponent where it appears that fraud or other serious improprieties should render the opponent’s petition legally invalid.