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Advocates file suit against NY Board of Elections, allege voter suppression

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NEW YORK, NY – Election Justice USA, a national voting rights organization, filed an emergency action lawsuit in New York Federal District Court on Monday afternoon. The suit alleged voter suppression against the New York Board of Elections.

Shyla Nelson, spokesperson for the organization confirmed that the suit was filed late Monday afternoon.

 The emergency action taken by Election Justice USA, called for the immediate restoration of voting rights for thousands of eligible New Yorkers who upon verifying their voter registration, discovered that the state’s voter registration system had rendered them ineligible to vote.

New York residents who said they were previously listed as Democrats discovered they were listed as unaffiliated with any party, not registered, or listed as Republicans on the state system. The registration errors rendered the voters unable to participate in the Presidential primary on Tuesday.

In a release from the organization on Monday, it was said that reports of thousands of NY voters being erroneously purged from the rolls was the cause “for this emergency action on the part of the newly-formed national group.”

“Voters are frustrated, angry, and feel helpless,” EJUSA spokeswoman Shyla Nelson said in the release.

“We have heard hundreds of stories, with desperate pleas for help. This election season has excited and galvanized the voting public in unprecedented numbers.” – Shyla Nelson, EJUSA

“For these voters to be systematically and erroneously removed from the rolls or prevented from voting in their party of choice is devastating to them personally and has sent a wave of doubt and worry through the voting public,” Nelson said.

The release went on to say that the lawsuit seeks to shift the burden of proof of eligibility from the voters to the Board of Elections, the named defendant.

Blaire Fellows, attorney for the organization, broke down the relevant state statute.

“As it is currently structured, the statute places an onerous and excessive burden on the voter to prove their eligibility. It requires securing a court order, which takes time that many New Yorkers simply don’t have, as it means loss of income over and above what they lose by simply taking time off to vote.”

The lawsuit further requests that the state of New York open its primary to all voters.

“The integrity of the election process is vital to democracy,” says Ohio attorney Cliff Arnebeck, one of Election Justice USA’s legal advisors.

Arnebeck, who has litigated against election fraud since 2000, says he believes the New York lawsuit “ensures that eligible voters are able to vote in the New York Primary and raises the right questions of responsibility and accountability in how elections are conducted.”

The organization filed its suit in the Eastern District of New York Federal District Court in Brooklyn on Monday afternoon.

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