New York Vassar College Polling Location Challenge
League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Valley v. Dutchess County Board of Elections
Lawsuit filed by the League of Women Voters of the Mid-Hudson Valley, a Vassar College professor and a Vassar College student against the Dutchess County Board of Elections and its Republican commissioner alleging that the board has failed to comply with its legal duty to designate an on-campus polling location for the upcoming Nov. 8 midterm elections on the Vassar College campus or at a nearby location. The petitioners assert that the “nearest early voting sites to the Vassar College campus each require an hour’s walk to reach and return, and are not accessible by public transportation from Vassar College” and that the “refusal of the Board to designate an on-campus polling location for the November 8…election not only violates New York law, but further abridges the voting rights of voters who reside on the Vassar College campus, including but not limited students, faculty, staff, and their families.” The petitioners further argue that under New York law, if a college campus contains more than 300 registered voters, a polling place must be designated on or nearby said campus. According to the petition, because Vassar College has over 1,000 registered voters residing on its campus, an on-campus polling location is warranted under New York law. The petitioners contend that if the Dutchess County Board of Elections fails to designate an on-campus polling location, Vassar College students will suffer irreparable injury in the form of disenfranchisement since they will not have “access to a convenient polling place for Election Day voting.” The petitioners ask the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the respondents to compel them to operate a polling place on the campus of Vassar College and to “assign all voters registered at a residential address on the Vassar College campus to that on-campus polling place” for the Nov. 8 election.
On Nov. 3, a judge granted the petitioners’ request and ordered that a polling site be operated on Vassar College’s campus. On Nov. 4, the Republican commissioner appealed the decision. On Monday, Nov. 7, a New York appellate court confirmed that an on-campus polling site must be established at Vassar College for the upcoming Nov. 8 midterm elections. The GOP commissioner then withdrew his motion for a discretionary stay that was pending before the intermediate appellate court.
Case Documents (trial court)
Case Documents (appellate court)