Judge dismisses challenge to casino ballot wording

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ALBANY—A state judge has declined to rule on the central merits of a challenge to the rosy ballot language in a proposition to legalize Las Vegas-style casinos in New York.

Albany County Supreme Court acting justice Richard Platkin dismissed the heart of a suit by Brooklyn attorney Eric Snyder as “academic,” saying it was filed more than 14 days after the Board of Elections certified the ballot language, and as such, too late under state statute.

Platkin agreed with the Board of Elections that a specific statute of limitations for electoral challenges was justified giving the compressed electoral calendar: “Despite the diligent efforts of all involved since the commencement of this suit just two weeks ago, this decision comes only 20 days prior to the general election. Additional time in this court would have been required if any of the claims withstood the motion to dismiss. And regardless of the disposition ordered in Supreme Court, an aggrieved party has a right to appeal to the Appellate Division and potentially the Court of Appeals. In the meantime, election ballots have been certified, military ballots were mailed to members of our armed forces and the process of distributing absentee ballots is well underway.”

This is good news for the Cuomo administration, which is pushing for the ballots adoption. And it will also be welcomed by a consortium of business leaders and labor unions who are advocating casinos as a source of jobs and tax revenue.

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The New York Public Interest Research Group, which along with other good-government advocates supported Snyder's claim, expressed disappointment.

”We believe this matter raises issues that go to the very heart of the way state government functions and the integrity of the process for revising the state’s basic charter,” said NYPIRG Legislative Director Blair Horner, in a statement. "We're disappointed that the judge chose to block a legitimate discussion on the merits of whether the state gamed the language of the casino amendment to tilt New Yorkers to a yes vote. New Yorkers still need to know how the state put its thumb on the scale in favor of casino interests when it came to drafting the pro gambling ballot question."

Here's Platkin's ruling:

Snyder v Walsh by Casey Seiler