10/16/2013 1:45PM

Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging New York casino ballot question


A judge on the Supreme Court of the State of New York has thrown out a lawsuit challenging a ballot question that will ask state voters this November whether they approve of the authorization of up to seven new casinos.

The judge, Richard Platkin, dismissed the lawsuit Wednesday in an expedited decision after it was challenged by the state’s Board of Elections, which had argued that the lawsuit from Brooklyn attorney Eric Snyder was filed too late to be heard, among other technicalities. Platkin agreed with the board on all of its counts without ever addressing Snyder’s original contention – that the ballot question contains leading language prohibited by the state’s election laws.

After the ruling was released, Snyder said he would file an emergency appeal with the state’s Appellate Court.

If his appeal is not successful, the Nov. 5 ballot question, which was crafted in part by the staff of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will ask voters: “The proposed amendment to section 9 of article 1 of the Constitution would allow the Legislature to authorize up to seven casinos in New York State for the legislated purposes of promoting job growth, increasing aid to schools, and permitting local governments to lower property taxes through revenues generated. Should the amendment be approved?”

Snyder’s suit had alleged that the language following “legislated purposes” violated a state law prohibiting advocacy language on ballot questions. A poll conducted by Siena College in late September found that 55 percent supported the question when it was worded as it is, but when the language following “legislative purposes” was deleted, support dropped to half of the respondents.