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State Supreme Court Judge To Consider Lawsuit Over Casino Referendum

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A state Supreme Court judge says he will consider a lawsuit challenging the wording of a referendum calling for more casinos in the state, a referendum that voters will be deciding on in just a few weeks. YNN's Innae Park filed the following report for NY1.

ALBANY - Attorney Eric Snyder is filing a lawsuit against the state Board of Elections over the casino referendum.

"This has nothing to do with gambling. This has to do with process," Snyder said.

The referendum has already been mailed overseas to military voters and is set to be voted on next month.

"They violated the Constitution because they're advocating a position of public expense," Snyder said.

In court Friday, Snyder said that the touting of positive outcomes of the legalization of casinos is clearly motivated by advocacy.

However, he said that those aren't his only concerns. Snyder said that the board went over its authority by changing the language and was not clear about that change in its July 29 meeting, which aired online.

"I could not have watched the webcast and knew what they were voting on, and I believe the Open Meetings Law, speaking substantively, requires that the public know what's being voted on," Snyder said.

"The state board isn't hiding anything here," said Paul Collins of the New York State Board of Elections Legal Council. "It was done in a live meeting."

The board's counsel has filed a motion to dismiss the suit, arguing that their process was public enough and that Snyder had lost his chance to file a complaint, since the deadline to do so was July 19.

Snyder disagrees.

"When I'm being accused of laches for unreasonable delay, they need to look in the mirror," he said.

That's because a copy of the referendum wasn't posted online immediately. In fact, it was more than three weeks later.

However, according to the board, that, too, was done the right way.

"There's no requirement for the state board to post the information on their website," said Tom Connolly, deputy director of public info for the New York State Board of Elections. "The delay, if anything, was more just kind of logistical, as far as staff resources being out on medical leave."

A decision is expected sometime next week. The decision could have a major impact on the voting process, with paper ballots having to be re-printed and audio recordings re-taped. With electronic ballots, polls may not be too affected.

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