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Couch White Achieves Victory in Denial of Release of Ballot Images

Jun 21, 2019

In December 2015, a Freedom of Information Law request was made to the Essex County Board of Election for Ballot images of voted ballots for the November 2015 general election.  The request was forwarded to the records access officer who denied the release of data relying upon that portion of the Election Law Section 3-222 that discusses the review of voted ballots.  The denial of the release of data was appealed and the release of the records were again denied.  An article 78 was subsequently initiated in June of 2016 and Supreme Court Justice Martin Aufferdou directed the release of said images.  Jim Walsh prepared the appeal of the decision of Justice Aufferdou on behalf of Essex County and, in a 3-2 decision, the Third Department agreed with the trial court.  Ultimately, the Court of Appeals issued its Opinion whereby it agreed with the Original decision of Essex County ruling that the ballot images are not releasable under FOIL as the Legislature had a statutory system in place for the review of “voted ballots.”