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Court rules no one is in charge of Women’s Equality Party

NIAGARA FALLS – None of the three groups purporting to be the nominating committee of the Women’s Equality Party qualify under state Election Law, so all three are barred from nominating any candidates this year, State Supreme Court Justice Frank Caruso ruled Monday.

The short-term result is that no one who has been placed on the party’s ballot line is allowed to run, including Niagara County Legislator Kathryn L. Lance, R-Wheatfield, who was a party to the lawsuit before Caruso. She was placed on the line by a group led by Niagara County Legislature Clerk Mary Jo Tamburlin, a Republican. One of the three groups contended that the other two groups comprised Republicans or Democrats trying to take over the party, but Caruso said he didn’t think a court should be investigating political philosophies.

The Women’s Equality Party started as an independent line last year for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and the rest of the Democratic state ticket, who received enough votes on the line for it to have an automatic ballot space for the next four years. State law says that a committee for such a party is valid if a majority of the candidates who ran on its line validate its proposed party rules, but only two of the four – Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul – have done so for any of the groups. Caruso said that’s not good enough.