Brooklyn attorney Eric Snyder and counsel for the state Board of Elections will be in the courtroom Friday, where they’ll make their respective cases of whether an upcoming referendum on casino gambling should be allowed to stand.
Snyder sued the board’s co-chairs last week, claiming that the language of the referendum — which touts revenue from casinos that would “promote job growth, increasing aid to schools and permitting local governments to lower property taxes” — takes an advocacy position and shouldn’t be put to voters. The referendum would change the state Constitution to allow for up to seven private casinos.
The board’s counsel, representing co-chairs Douglas Kellner and James Walsh, on Wednesday asked Acting Justice Richard Platkin to dismiss the suit, claiming Snyder’s action was filed too late to challenge the referendum. The law requires a challenge within 14 days of when the referendum language was certified, according to the suit. (The last day for certification was Aug. 5, but the language wasn’t posted online until after that date.)
Meanwhile, the New York Public Interest Research Group on Friday wrote to Acting Justice Richard Platkin, urging him to have the Board of Elections re-write the referendum in a more neutral way, citing a recent Siena College poll that showed the current wording significantly swayed voters to vote “yes.”
“The language recites many of the predicted benefits of approval advanced by casino boosters,” NYPIRG’s Blair Horner and Russ Haven wrote. “Yet neither the ballot question nor the abstract language refer to what critics predict are the likely down sides of approving the proposal. The language appears to be worded in a way that would incline a neutral voter to vote ‘yes.’”
The hearing is slated for 9:30 a.m. in state Supreme Court in Albany County.
Here’s the Board of Election’s motion to dismiss: