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Decision - 1 26 12

Decision - 1 26 12

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Published by B. Colby Hamilton

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Published by: B. Colby Hamilton on Jan 27, 2012
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01/27/2012

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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTNORTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ___________________________________ UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
 
Plaintiff,1:10-cv-1214(GLS/RFT)v. STATE OF NEW YORK et al.,Defendants. ___________________________________ APPEARANCES:OF COUNSEL:FOR THE PLAINTIFF:
HON. RICHARD J. HARTUNIAN BARBARA D. COTTRELLUnited States AttorneyTHOMAS SPINA, JR.445 BroadwayAssistant U.S. Attorneys218 James T. Foley U.S. CourthouseAlbany, NY 12207-2924United States Dept. of JusticeRICHARD A. DELLHEIM, ESQ.Civil Rights DivisionRISA A. BERKOWER, ESQ.950 Pennsylvania Ave. NWWashington, D.C. 20530
FOR THE DEFENDANTS:
State of New York 
HON. ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMANJEFFREY M. DVORINNew York State Attorney GeneralBRUCE J. BOIVINAlbany Department of LawAssistant Attorney GeneralsThe CapitolAlbany, NY 12224
Board of Elections 
New York State Bd. of ElectionsKIMBERLY A. GALVIN, ESQ.Office of Special CounselPAUL M. COLLINS, ESQ.40 Steuben Street
Case 1:10-cv-01214-GLS-RFT Document 59 Filed 01/27/12 Page 1 of 17
 
Albany, NY 12207-1650 
Gary L. SharpeChief JudgeMEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDERI. Introduction
Nothing is more critical to a vibrant democratic society than citizenparticipation in government through the act of voting. It is unconscionableto send men and women overseas to preserve our democracy whilesimultaneously disenfranchising them while they are gone. To someextent, that is precisely what New York has done. Having had ampleopportunity to correct the problem, it has failed to find the political will to doso. While matters of comity ordinarily counsel federal courts to refrain frombecoming embroiled in state election schemes, New York has left the courtno choice. If federally-guaranteed voting rights are to be protected, thecourt must act.The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act(UOCAVA) of 1986, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973ff to 1973ff-7, as amended by theMilitary and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, Pub. L. No.111-84, subtitle H, §§ 575-589, 123 Stat. 2190, 2318-2335 (2009) protects
2
Case 1:10-cv-01214-GLS-RFT Document 59 Filed 01/27/12 Page 2 of 17
 
the federally-guaranteed voting rights of New York’s military and overseasvoters. Since at least 2010, New York has recognized that its voting lawsare not compliant with UOCAVA’s federal mandate. Accordingly, the Stateentered a Consent Decree on October 19, 2010. (
See 
Dkt. No. 9.) Amongother things, it agreed to amend its law to ensure future compliance withUOCAVA and agreed to take certain steps to correct UOCAVA violations.(
See 
Consent Decree Terms,
id.
) Furthermore, the State transmittedadditional absentee ballots after October 1, 2010—that were unknown tothe court at the time it entered the Decree—which constituted additionalUOCAVA violations that fell beyond the scope of the relief ordered in theConsent Decree. (
See id.
)Now pending is the United States’ motion seeking permanent andsupplemental relief to ensure New York’s primary election date complieswith UOCAVA and to address the additional violations found subsequent tothe Decree. (
See 
Dkt. No. 16.) For the reasons that follow, the motion isgranted.
II. Background
On October 12, 2010, the United States filed this action to remedyviolations of UOCAVA. UOCAVA guarantees active duty members of the
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Case 1:10-cv-01214-GLS-RFT Document 59 Filed 01/27/12 Page 3 of 17

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