New York - Bloomingburg Chasidim Versus Board Of Elections Case To Be Heard Next Winter As Judge Refuses To Dismiss Suit
New York - In yet another victory for the fledgling Chasidic community in Bloomingburg, a federal judge has refused to dismiss a motion filed against the Sullivan County Board of Elections, charging that Chasidic voters were deprived of their right to vote.
As previously reported on VIN News, 27 Chasidic residents of Bloomingburg filed a complaint in March alleging that the Sullivan County Board of Elections attempted to cancel the registrations of 184 out of the village’s 285 registered voters. 160 of the voters whose registration was challenged were Chasidic Jews.
The lawsuit also names Board of Elections commissioners Ann Prusinski and Rodney Gaebel as defendants, and charges that the defendants required Chasidic residents to fill out lengthy questionnaires designed to make it harder to prove the validity of their registrations, ignored proof of residence supplied by Chasidic villagers, placed exceptional burdens on Chasidic voters who attempted to prove their places of residence, annulled votes of Chasidic voters and conducted bogus investigations and hearings to determine the eligibility of certain Chasidic voters.
Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit today, saying that the plaintiffs in the case are entitled to have their complaint heard by a court of law. The court also stated that at this time, neither Prusinski nor Gaebel are to be granted qualified immunity which would shield them from personal liability in the matter.
Today’s decision comes a week after Judge Forrest green lighted a lawsuit charging the Village of Bloomingburg and the Town of Mamakating with violating federal civil rights and fair housing laws by discriminating against Chasidim who hope to move into the village. Another positive development for Bloomingburg’s Chasidic community occurred on the same day, when a state court of appeals denied a motion by Bloomingburg’s Rural Community Coalition and the Town of Mamakating to reverse the annexation of land that provided developer Shalom Lamm’s with the property for his Chestnut Ridge townhouse development.
“I believe plaintiffs have made a strong case that the Sullivan County Board of Elections has engaged in a campaign to disenfranchise them and prevent them from voting and we fully expect that the suit will prevail when it goes to trial,” Michael Fragin of Bloomingburg’s Jewish Community Council told VIN News.
The case against the Sullivan County Board of Elections and its two commissioners is currently scheduled to go to trial on February 29, 2016.
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