Resource: Puliafito v. Bd. of Elections in the City of NY

By: Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

September 6, 2020

Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

Seawright filed a petition designating her a candidate for the office of Member of the Assembly for the 76th District on the Democratic Party primary ballot. This petition required a cover sheet, which Seawright failed to file prior to the March 20 deadline. Seawright also filed a petition designating her a candidate for the same office on the Working Families Party primary ballot, which petition required the filing of a certificate of acceptance. Seawright failed to file the certificate of acceptance prior to the March 24 deadline. The Board of Elections invalidated both petitions. Seawright commenced proceedings to validate the petitions. Puliafito, the Republican candidate for the same office, moved to intervene (which motion was granted). After a hearing, the NY Supreme Court granted Seawright's petition to validate her designating petitions. The Board of Elections and Puliafito appealed and the Appellate Division (First Department) unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court's decision; however, the Court of Appeals reversed the decision, denying Seawright's petitions to validate and granting Puliafito's petitions to invalidate (and resolved a departmental split as to whether the late filing of a portion of a designating petition (e.g., a cover sheet, a certificate of acceptance) constitutes a fatal defect that invalidates such a petition).