BY ALTON H. MADDOX, JR.
October 16, 2010
Councilman Charles Barron
New York City Council
New York, NY 10007
Re: Voting Rights Violations
Dear Councilman Barron:
UAM’s membership met on Saturday and, without dissent, it was outraged that the New York Board of Elections has overruled any sacrificial gains that our revered ancestors had achieved in more than a century of struggle. The leadership of the Freedom Party has already, apparently, raised the white flag.
“General” asserted that, on this past Thursday at Bethesda Baptist Church in Queens, he questioned Viola Plummer about the zig-zag ballot for the general election. On one ballot, the Freedom Party is on Line “J”. Another ballot has the Freedom Party on line “2H”. Freedom Party literature has it on line “H’.
Viola made mincemeat out of his question by stating that a voter should simply search for your name. Wrong answer. UAM demands that whites comply with the law and they should not receive any further favorable treatment. Acquiescence can cause irreparable harm to Blacks.
Andrew Cuomo has been assigned exclusively to lines “1A”, “1C”, and “1E”. Carl Paladino has been assigned, exclusively, to line “1B” and Howie Hawkins has been assigned, exclusively, to line “1F”. Jimmy McMillans has been assigned exclusively to line “1G” even though his party filed fewer signatures than the Freedom Party and they were filed beyond the deadline.
On the other hand, the Freedom Party shares line “H” with the Libertarian Party. Of course, the Libertarian Party is arranged vertically on this ballot. Since the Freedom Party ranked second in the collection of signatures, it should be exclusively positioned on line “1G” and below the Green Party.
Instead, the Freedom Party has accepted second-class citizenship by political sharecropping with the Libertarian Party on line “H”. The Libertarian Party has line “1H”. The Freedom Party has line “2H”. These political parties are on the same line and it is designed to confuse voters and to suppress the Freedom Party’s vote.
The Freedom Party must stand for something. It is not enough to suggest that voters should search for your name while other gubernatorial candidates have exclusive lines. Their voters can also search for their lines in addition to the names of their candidates. This is called unequal protection of the laws. The “go along to get along” approach was fashionable in the 1960’s in the South. It has now contaminated New York. This is “plantation politics”.
Sis. Beverly Sims recounted a recent encounter with you at Sista’s Place. You stated that a voter should search for line “J”. Afterwards, she saw Freedom Party literature in barbershops and beauty shops in Brooklyn indicating that the Freedom Party’s candidates for governor and lieutenant governor were on line “H”.
UAM’s membership recommends that you emphasize the debate on October 18 that Blacks are unable to enjoy free and fair elections in New York unless their gubernatorial candidate is Andrew Cuomo who has violated his oath of office by looking the other way while New York is displaying a flawed ballot which benefits him and is to the detriment of Blacks.
The U.S. Justice Department should waste no time in enjoining this election. This should be your chief concern at the debate on Monday, October 18. Cuomo should also be called on to enjoin the November 2 general election. In the alternative, Gov. David Paterson should supplant Cuomo immediately for violating his oath of office; by practicing racial discrimination against persons of African ancestry; and by engendering a conflict-of-interest.
Very truly yours,
Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
ALTON H. MADDOX, JR.
TEL.: (718) 834-9034
FAX : (718) 884-8241
P.O. BOX 35
BRONX, NY 10471
October 14, 2010
U.S. Attorney General
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Re: The Freedom Party
United African Movement and many supporters of the Freedom Party requests, pursuant to an enclosed petition, that the Department of Justice exercises its jurisdiction under the U.S. Constitution, civil rights statutes, the Help America Vote Act, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to protect the voting rights of Black, Latino and Asian voters in New York.
Specifically, in 1994, United African Movement was in the vanguard of the effort to establish a political voice for historically-despised groups in New York after suffering perennial, political abuses from both the Democratic Party and the Republican Party in New York. An aim was for the Freedom Party to secure ballot status under the New York Election Law without petitioning New York in the future.
This is a two-stage process. At election, half-time in 2010, the Freedom Party had secured 43,500 signatures which total exceeded six of the seven political parties vying for a place on the ballot. The Tea Party is not on the ballot. The Freedom Party must secure 15,000 votes for its gubernatorial candidate to enjoy automatic ballot status. Thus, New York has created an irregular and illegal ballot for November 2 to frustrate this legitimate aim.
The November 2 gubernatorial ballot not only violates the Reconstruction Amendments, the Help America Vote Act and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 but it also, specifically, violates New York Election Law §7-104 which provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
All ballots shall be printed and/or displayed in a format and arrangement, of such uniform size and style as will fit the ballot frame, and shall be in as plain and clear a type or display as the space will reasonably permit. Such type or display on the ballot shall satisfy all requirements and standards set forth pursuant to the federal Help America Vote Act.
New York has chosen a vertical ballot for the general election on November 2 and it has complied with this form for the gubernatorial candidates with two notable exceptions. The gubernatorial slots for both the Freedom Party and the Anti-Prohibition Party are arranged horizontally and in clear violation of New York Election Law § 7-104. Nine political parties are arranged vertically as is required by law.
Moreover, the Taxpayers Party and the Anti-Prohibition Party are on the same horizontal plane and share the exact line designation (11) while the Libertarian Party and the Freedom Party also share the same horizontal arrangement but the Libertarian Party has the line designation of “1H” while the Freedom Party has the line designation of “2H.” This is designed to confuse voters and prevent the printing of any intelligible materials for them.
Campaign materials have already had to be discarded or altered because the New York Board of Elections is conducting a misinformation and a disinformation campaign. If the same standard had been employed uniformly for parties that had not polled for its gubernatorial candidates as the parties that had polled for gubernatorial candidates in 2006, the Freedom Party would have occupied line “G” on the ballot alone.
From lines “F to “11” on the ballot which include 6 political parties, the Freedom Party was only second to the Green Party in the collection of signatures. The Green Party was rewarded with line “F” and the Freedom Party was penalized with line “2H”. The Green Party enjoys its own ballot space. Rent Is 2 Damn High Party is enjoying the Freedom Party’s place. The Freedom Party, on the other hand, has to share a space with the Libertarian Party.
In many instances, absentee voters play a crucial role in determining the outcome of an election. New York Election Law §7-122 provides, in pertinent part, as follows: “Ballots for absentee voters shall be, as nearly as practicable, in the same form as these to be voted in the district on election day….” On the absentee ballot, the Freedom Party’s slot is on line “J”. Thus, the slots are dissimilar.
Although New York is situated, geographically, in the North, it is being subjected to the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for maintaining white supremacy. Blacks were unable to vote in New York until after the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment. Financially, Wall Street had also sided with the Confederate States of America. This legacy still drives New York.
Testimony elicited in Albany Federal Court in 1994 highlights the problems faced by Black voters. The Libertarian Party submitted fewer than the statutory minimum of 15,000 signatures to get on the ballot. At the same time, the Freedom Party submitted approximately 18,000 signatures which exceeded the statutory minimum of 15,000 signatures.
In the Albany Federal Court, testimony was elicited that no white-led political party which had failed to submit the requisite signatures was prevented from enjoying ballot access while no similarly-situated Black-led party had ever been given ballot access. Thus, the Libertarian Party enjoyed ballot access while the Freedom Party was relegated to the political sidelines.
Politics in New York is separate but unequal. Geography and race play critical roles in maintaining a dual system of politics. In a statewide election, a quilted political contest is not only costly but also confusing. This is irrational discrimination and it not only undermines the U.S. Constitution but also the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Help America Vote Act.
I have enclosed a copy of some of the myriad sample ballots that Black and Latino voters may encounter on November 2. Registered voters are only allowed to have a peep at these ballots three business days before the election. This means that a sample ballot is still a work in progress.
Quilted ballots will lead to confusion. It is also impossible to orchestrate effective advertising and voter education programs given the different ballots that New York will employ on November 2. Discriminatory voting practices will give rise to irreparable and irreversible harm. Injunctive relief is appropriate.
Very truly yours,
Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney, but he has yet to lie about anything. Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471