Election watchdog pushes back on New York’s mail-in voting law

By Around the Web

(Photo by Joe Kovacs)
(Photo by Joe Kovacs)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Fred Lucas
The Daily Signal

A watchdog group on election law with success opposing mail-in voting provisions has joined two key congressional Republicans from New York in a case before the state’s highest court.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a friend of the court brief Tuesday in the New York Court of Appeals supporting Reps. Elise Stefanik, chair of the House Republican Conference, and Rep. Claudia Tenney, co-chair of the Election Integrity Caucus, in challenging New York’s universal mail-in voting law.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation previously led litigation that stopped expansion of mail-in voting in President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.

Stefanik and Tenney, the plaintiffs in New York, contend that universal vote-by-mail systems, in which ballots are mailed to all voters, are unconstitutional. In a 2021 referendum, the state’s voters agreed, rejecting a proposed state constitutional amendment.

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“Expansion of mail voting was rejected by New York voters,” Public Interest Legal Foundation President J. Christian Adams said in a written statement. “Now, the New York [State] Legislature has unconstitutionally passed a law to allow every registered voter to cast a ballot in the mail.”

After voters defeated the proposal in a referendum, both chambers of the Democrat-controlled New York State Legislature passed a bill allowing all Empire State voters to vote by mail, and Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, signed it.

The lawsuit is called Stefanik v. Hochul.

Section 2 of the New York Constitution limits mail-in voting to those who are traveling or sick or have a disability, specifically stating that “qualified voters who, on the occurrence of any election, may be unable to appear personally at the polling place because of illness or physical disability, may vote” and have their ballots returned and counted.

“The plain text of the New York Constitution prohibits the expansion of mail voting,” Adams said. “If New York lawmakers want to expand mail voting, they need to pass a constitutional amendment.”

As noted in my book “The Myth of Voter Suppression,” mail-in voting traditionally has been the largest avenue for adjudicated cases of election fraud. Mail-in voting opens the door for increased ballot harvesting, a controversial practice that has led to overturned elections.

New York has experienced problems with mail-in voting and getting timely results.

The plaintiffs are appealing a May ruling by Justice Michael C. Lynch of the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division’s Third Judicial Department. Lynch wrote in that decision: “The fact remains that, in its current form, the NY Constitution contains no requirement—express or implied—mandating that voting occur in-person on Election Day.”

Meanwhile, Hochul and Democrats contend that their goal is to make it easier for more New Yorkers to vote.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation successfully sued Delaware in 2022 to stop a law that allowed universal mail-in voting because the Delaware Constitution included similar provisions. The Delaware Supreme Court ruled that expanding voting by mail violates the state constitution.

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

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