It is very gratifying that so many members of the bench and bar have come to rely on this book. I am pleased that earlier editions have received such positive reviews in the New York Times, New York Law Journal, the New York State Bar Journal, Ballot Access News and the Election Law Journal. In this Sixth Edition, I have tried again to incorporate as many appellate and trial court decisions as possible so readers have a broad range of source material to use.
My work stands on the shoulders of Benjamin Gassman, Lewis Abrahams and Edward Byer, all authors of previous election law treatises in New York. I thank them for their contributions to the field. I also thank two important mentors, Paul Asofsky and the late Dudley Gaffin, as well as my current colleagues in the election law bar for their generous assistance in improving this work. Of course, I am deeply appreciative of my new co-authors, Michael G. Mallon, David T. Imamura and Michael J. Pernick, who made an invaluable contribution to this work—as did researchers Amitav Chakraborty, Victoria Recalde, Eric Carlson, Caroline Hymes and Jacqueline Bartha.
I also thank Judge Philippe Solages, Jr. of the New York Court of Claims for his invaluable contribution to this edition.
Several chapters in previous editions were also drafted by Daniel M. Burstein, Ilana Denise Cohen, Jeffrey Novack, Michael Scavelli, Steven R. Schlesinger and Hale Yazicioglu. I thank them as well.
As before, I particularly thank my colleagues at Stroock for providing me the opportunity to practice and write, and to Fordham Law School for the privilege of teaching Election Law. I especially am grateful to my terrific students. It may be a cliché, but it is nevertheless true that I learn more from my students than can be measured. They always provide useful insights, and keep me on my toes. And their enthusiasm has sustained my own interest and faith in the electoral system.
Finally, of course, I thank my family: Alice; Peter and Larissa; and Carly and David. Our grandchildren—Jonah, Andrew and Violet—have a significant stake in fair and free elections, and they keep me going! I am reminded of New York Governor Samuel J. Tilden, whose election to the presidency was stolen from him in 1876. Despite his ill fortune, in a speech to a civic organization in Manhattan several months later, he attempted to assuage the anger of his fellow New Yorkers:"If my voice could reach throughout our country and be heard in its remotest hamlet, I would say: Be of good cheer. The Republic will live. The institutions of our fathers are not to expire in shame. The sovereignty of the people shall be rescued from this peril and reestablished."*
Obviously, Tilden believed in the importance of peaceful succession and the norm of "loser’s consent." In this respect his devotion to our constitutional democracy was akin to no fewer than ten U.S. Presidents, who were defeated in their re-election bids yet graciously (if not happily) turned over the White House keys to their successors.**
Unfortunately, we are living through a period when so many Americans have abandoned electoral norms—led by the former president, who continues to stoke the "Big Lie."
Our republic will continue to survive only if the American people are vigilant in protecting our precious institutions and the rule of law—safeguarding them through state and federal legislation, litigation, and political mobilization. I trust those reading this treatise will continue in their efforts to preserve our constitutional democracy.
New York City, June 2022
*William H. Rehnquist, CENTENNIAL CRISIS: THE DISPUTED ELECTION OF 1876 (Knopf 2014), at 210.
** The eleventh unsuccessful incumbent, former President Trump, still insists he did not lose.
In addition to updating the previous editions, the Sixth Edition contains new chapters:
- New York State's Authority to Enact Election Laws
- Local Authority to Enact Election Laws
- Candidates and Political Parties
- Ballot Proposals
- New York City's Campaign Finance Law
- New York State's Campaign Finance Law
- Federal Campaign Finance Law
Also includes the NYS Election Law and the NYS Board of Election Rules.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JERRY H. GOLDFEDER is Special Counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan, LLP, specializing in election and campaign finance law, government relations and public integrity defense.
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