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Federal and NYS courts overturn decisions, Byron Brown will not appear on ballot for Mayor of Buffalo

Buffalo Mayor Brown
Posted at 7:34 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 22:21:26-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Following appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Supreme Court of the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department have overturned previous decisions to include Byron Brown on the November ballot for Mayor of Buffalo.

First, the Supreme Court of the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department overturned a previous decision to include Brown on the ballot.

Then, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit also overturned a previous decision to include Brown on the ballot.

The decisions to include Brown on the ballot came after lawsuits were filed on August 30. The two decisions were appealed and overturned Thursday.

One lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court on behalf of the Brown campaign, argued the legislature’s change in primary day and day of the deadline to file a petition to appear on the November ballot was unconstitutional and did not give voters enough time to decide.

The other lawsuit, filed in Federal Court on behalf of three Buffalo residents who support Byron Brown for Mayor, argued the change in the deadline to file a petition to appear on the November ballot "violated their rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.”

The incumbent Brown will not appear on the ballot, but may still run a write-in campaign. He announced a write-in campaign in June after losing the Democratic primary.

The campaign for India Walton, who won the Democratic primary for Mayor of Buffalo, issued the following statements in response to the court decisions Thursday:

We are very glad the Fourth Department has upheld the rule of law. Buffalo voters deserve clear, transparent election laws. This decision is an acknowledgement of the duly elected New York State legislature’s right to set our political calendar. If everyday Buffalonians are late on rent, parking fees, or school assignments, they face consequences. There is no reason the rules should not apply to my GOP-backed opponent as well.
- India Walton
We are thrilled that, immediately after the Fourth Department convincingly ruled in our favor on the merits of the case, the Second Circuit granted our motion to stay Judge Sinatra’s order. As of now, Byron Brown’s frivolous legal actions have failed, and we are calling on him to cease them once and for all, and let us get back to the issues.
- India Walton campaign spokesperson Jesse Myerson

The Brown campaign released this statement Thursday evening:

"We are disappointed by the decisions in federal and state court today. We believe that the initial rulings were correct and properly granted ballot access for the Mayoral election in the City of Buffalo,” said Conor Hurley, Campaign Manager of Brown for Buffalo. “Despite our disappointment, we respect the Court’s decisions and will not disparage or denigrate anyone involved in them, as our opponent and her supporters have done over the last two weeks. Our campaign remains focused on what has sustained us all along, which is ensuring that Buffalo’s progress continues, and that no matter what method people vote by, that they will have the ability to cast their vote for a qualified and experienced candidate. In November, Mayor Byron Brown will prevail. Write Down Byron Brown."

A commissioner for the Erie County Board of Elections tells 7 Eyewitness News Brown may still pursue his legal options in court but the board will hold a commissioner's meeting Friday "for the purpose of amending the 2021 general election ballot certification," and ballots will be sent out without Brown's name on them.

The board of elections voted not to certify the General Election Ballot on September 9 citing many moving parts in the courts regarding whether Brown’s name would be on the ballot.